Monday, June 28, 2010

wassup wit da wip?

C'mon. You know you want to know.

Click me, sweetheart.

The next book is almost done. Paranormal romance. 98,000 words.

And the next one is marinating.

Here's a hint: middle grade adventure, anteaters, theater.

The writing life is the life for me, yo ho ho.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


We went to a skating party yesterday. Yes, it was half for her and half for me, because I feel ten times more graceful on roller skates than I do on my own feet. If possible, I would live my life on a three-way combination of skating, horseback riding, and swimming, and my calloused tootsies would never touch the ground.

The Biscuit may even skate in my footsteps. When we tried skating for her 3rd birthday-- her request-- she couldn't even stand up. After 3 minutes and $16, we were back on the street wiping up her tears and heading out for a conciliatory cupcake.

But yesterday she totally impressed me. And I'm not easy to impress.


She took to skating like a roller-skating fish to water. Forwards, backwards, spinning, on the carpet or the rink, which she called "ice". It was incredible. She had a great time. I had a great time. There were cupcakes. WHAT'S BETTER THAN THAT?

We're already discussing our skating date for her 4th birthday this August.

And I can't wait.

*Thank you, Homer Simpson, for that little gem**.

** She bent my Wookiee!***

*** Because Homer makes me think of Ralph Wiggum, and I love Ralph Wiggum.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

warren, kenny, and sherlock holmes get together to piss me off

Our upstairs A/C is out, so we're sleeping with the windows open, like they used to do for... oh... most of history up until 1963. It's illuminating. I had no idea cats made quite so much whoopee, and I had forgotten how horrible teenagers can be.

It was 2am, and I had half a Unisom, but here's what I remember:

kid 1: I'm the king of town, and you best be gettin' offa my car, Holmes!*

kid 2: Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, foo? Imma gonna kick you in da nutz!

kid 3: I'm kickin' yo' car, G!

(sound of car being kicked)

kid 1: That is my car! I'm surely going to mess you, up, sir!**

kid 2: Why you gots to be all up in my hood, bra? Don't be mean muggin!

kid 1: Then don't be steppin!

kid 3: I see you, old lady! Get back in the house before I go all Mike Tyson on yo' saggy bottom!

kid 2: (channeling Kenny from Can't Hardly Wait) Why's y'all gots ta waste ma flavuh?

kid 1: (channeling Warren from Empire Records) YOU'LL BE SORRY!

Dr. Krog: There's nothing more pathetic than rich white kids named Chase and Jayden who live in the 'burbs but think they're somehow gangstas.

me: I know how to handle this. I'll write a LETTER!

Dr. Krog: A letter?

me: Fine, an email. To the HOA!!!

Dr. Krog: You're tough.

me: That's how I roll.

So now the neighborhood is mobilized against the threat of LOUD, ANNOYING YOUTH, and I am gleefully looking forward to calling 911 the next time they show up and watching them scatter like cockroaches in a flashlight when the Po-Po*** show up.

Because I am an old biddy! FEAR ME.

* My memory gets spotty in parts. He may have actually said "homes", as in "houses". Or it could have been "hoes", like what you rake with. Or maybe he was referring to Homey the Clown? Do you remember that gig on In Living Color? HOMEY DON'T PLAY THAT! Oh, ha ha, hee hee. Comedy gold!

** Basic gist, leaving out the curse words and replacing urban jive talk with actual words. Like, that exist in the DICTIONARY.

*** I'm pretty sure he's the tall purple Teletubby with the purse, but I would definitely run if he showed up at 2am on a quiet street.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

reading is for wienies and the dogs that eat them

Note: If this post doesn't make sense, blame the drink.
Yes, just one. I've got the tolerance of a vole.

That's the fan in t.rex's room. Since it's 96 moist degrees at night and our AC died.

Seriously. The fan is called "Windmere". I just added the other words with my Sharpie. And yes, I know it's spelled Windermere, but I couldn't help myself.

It's not like you can ever find a home appliance called The Importance of Being a Toaster.

Anyway, now that we've got our liter-airy masterpiece on display for the world, let me show you some other pictures that you don't really care about.

The kids were kicking this watermelon around the floor. So I got out my Sharpie (again) and drew the face on it, trying to imagine what a watermelon would look like saying, "Say what?"

And then Dr. Krog came out of the bathroom and saw it, staring at him, and he said, "Say what?"

And I was like, I LOVE YOU. YOU GROK ME.

Which is why, a long time ago, we made this.

Matching? What's that?

Three is a magic number.

And then there is also this.

You think it's cute now, but wait until you're enjoying the Twitter party for #worstbookever, and then this rolling tandem bike of doom clips your Achilles tendon, and all you can think about is that scene in Pet Sematary where the undead baby hides under the bed and kills the old man, and then you start thinking about that horrible Cujo-wannabe book called "The Pack" that someone wrote in the 1980's about a pack of feral dogs that eat people, but mostly their weiners, in graphic detail. And then you're like, NO, GOODNIGHT MOON IS STILL THE WORST BOOK EVER, I NEED TO TWEET THAT.

And then you remember Nicolas Sparks, and you shudder a little.

Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade apparently makes me very chatty. I think I'm going to channel that into book editing now, because steamy love scenes are really hard to write while small people cling to your knees and shout about apples.

Friday, June 18, 2010

the neverending queeeestions

biscuit: This isn't the Care Bears.

me: No, sweetie. This is a BRAND NEW MOVIE. It's called THE NEVERENDING STORY, and it's like LABYRINTH. And I LOVE it.

biscuit: Uh, can I just watch the Care Bears?

me: No. I am sharing precious moments of my childhood with you. We are going to MAKE MEMORIES. Starting now.

biscuit: What's that?

me: Those are called "opening credits". It's when you see the names of the people who made the movie and watch roiling clouds while someone sings a song that contains the movie's name. It's an 80's thing.

biscuit: What's a 80's?

me: That's when I was a kid. In the 1980's. Over twenty years ago.

biscuit: Was that before I was in your belly?

me: Yes, when I was a child. A little kid. Like you.

biscuit: But what--


biscuit: What's that? And that? And that? What's that girl doing? What's a bully? Why is that girl in the trash can? Oh, she is messy! Why does that old man make a funny face? What's that book? Why's that girl running? She should not stand on a chair like that. That's dangerous. She has a key! Why didn't she go to school? I like school.

me: SSSSHHHH! Watch and listen, grasshopper!

biscuit: Why's that girl crying?

me: That's not a girl. That's a boy named ATREYU, and he's crying because his best friend is dying.

biscuit: Where's her best friend? Why is that girl crying?

me: His best friend is his horse, Artax, who was just overcome with sadness and sunk beneath the swamp. The other person is a BOY named BASTIAN, and he is reading the book about Atreyu and crying because Atreyu's horse Artax just died. IT IS VERY DEEP.

biscuit: Uh. Why's that girl crying?

me: THEY ARE BOTH BOYS. They just have longer hair. See how Atreyu's shirt is open so you can see his chest? Girls never show their chest in public.

biscuit: It's not public. She's in that... uh... lake. And why can't I show my grips?

me: They're not 'grips', dude. They're called NIPPLES, and you can't show them in public because SOCIETY SAYS SO, and because your great-grandmother would fall over dead. It's just bad manners to show your grips. I mean nipples.

biscuit: What's she doing now?


biscuit: Uh, what's... Atreyu... doing now?

me: He's trying to talk to Morla, the giant turtle so they can SAVE FANTASIA FROM THE EVIL NOTHING!

biscuit: Why'd he spit on that girl?

me: Morla sneezed, because he's allergic to youth. I begin to feel a bit itchy myself for the same reason.

biscuit: Huh?

me: Nothing.

biscuit: Where?

me: What?

biscuit: Nothing.

me: Nothing what?

biscuit: You said there was a Nothing, and they were saving it?

me: No, honey. THE NOTHING wants to eat Fangtasia, I mean FANTASIA, and sometimes it looks like a mean wolf, but mostly it's shown by roiling clouds that eat everything, and it's going to destroy the entire world and kill the childlike Empress unless Sebastian finally figures out that he's the integral part of the story and gives her a name that sounds like BLAAAAAAH BLAAAAAAAHHHHH! and then she gives him, like a piece of sand that makes wishes happen and then ARTAX IS ALIVE AGAIN AND THEY GALLOP ACROSS THE PLAIN!

biscuit: What? Um, what is... why... is that turtle a boy or a girl?

me: (huge sigh) So do you want to watch Care Bears or what?


In conclusion, maybe we'll wait a little bit before trying that again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

summer haiku

the a/c has blow
but no snow. ninety degrees.
why, georgia, why? WHY???


one fan for each kid
the noise should help them sleep well
me, not so much. HOT.


rain is pouring down
like buckets of lead. plonk. plonk.
garden is joyful.


power flickers off
and back on. laundry stops then
starts. this is not good.


hot. storm. kids. power.

Monday, June 14, 2010

biscuit wisdom

biscuit: Mommy, how many beavers were there at the zoo?

me: I thought there were two, but apparently one of them died.

biscuit: Why?

me: Oh, well, maybe he got old or sick. I don't know. But everything that is born has to die, someday. It's just part of life.

biscuit: That's okay, because we come back. Like flowers. You kill them, and then they always come back. Don't worry, mama.

me: (existential crisis solved by innate wisdom and trust of child) Cool.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

how do you solve a problem like the biscuit?

I introduced the Biscuit to The Sound of Music* this week.

Here are some excerpts:

Biscuit: What's a nun?

me: A lady who lives in a convent and is good all the time.

Biscuit: Are they real?

me: Yep.

Biscuit: Are some fat and some pointy?

me: Some are fat, thin, and in between. They're just normal people.

Biscuit: Do they sleep?

me: Yes, every night. Just like you.

Biscuit: What do they do every day?

me: They live in a convent, pray, garden, help poor people. They're just good all the time.

Biscuit: Do they do what people say?

me: They do what the Reverend Mother says.

Biscuit: Is she like their boss?

me: Yes.

Biscuit: Is Maria a Raven Mother?

me: No, she's a young nun who gets in trouble a lot.

Biscuit: Yeah, she's a naughty nun. What's their costume?

me: It's called a habit.

Biscuit: That's not a very good costume for ballet.

me: You're right. It's not. But nuns don't do ballet.

Biscuit: Then I don't wanna be a nun.

(Note: About halfway through this conversation, it occurred to me that she was confusing nuns with vampires. Must be the long, black cloak. Hope I cleared that up.)


Biscuit (singing to herself): How do you solve a Maria like the nun? How do you catch the thing and give a cloud? How do you find a word where is Maria? Allelujah! She's a clown!


Biscuit: This is my swishy dress, and this is my basket, and I'm the big girl from Sound of Music. I'm being Weasel.

me: Her name is Liesl, dude.

Biscuit: No, that's not a real name. Her name is Weasel. I'm being WEASEL.

me: Cool. Weasel, do you want some strawberries?

Biscuit: Thank you, yes.



me: Please stop shouting nonsense.

Biscuit: I'm singing. That song that the nuns sing.

me: Allelujah?

Biscuit: Yeah. Is it louder than talking?

me: Yes, it is much louder and more annoying than talking.



Can't wait to show her Oklahoma and On the Town.

*Have I ever mentioned that I was in the 8th grade musical of Sound of Music? I was Sister Bertha, the Evil Nun**. I have a picture of me playing poker in my habit, because I was one tough sister.

**Yes, they actually let me sing on stage. But that was the only time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

@ss day

So today? I was an @ss, mostly because my kids were @sses. Dr. Krog was occasionally an @ss in response to our @ssitude. There was absolutely nothing kick@ss about it, except for some really good vegetarian General Tso's and some understanding friends.

Sorry about that.

Now that I've apologized, I would appreciate some cold dark chocolate.

That's how karma works, right?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

life, death, gravy

my interior thoughts:

I'm getting sick of this mortality salience thing that keeps whomping me upside the head. That stupid song about "Do you realize everyone you know someday will die". I freakin' hate that song. And the hiphop version of Forever Young, too. Then again, I shouldn't fear death so much. Everything that I've ever feared that was a natural transition was totally fine, in hindsight. As the Japanese used to say, life is a bridge of dreams between the infinite darkness. And I'm just so happy right now, so happy with EVERYTHING, that I don't want to lose anything. That I'm grasping at immortality, wishing things could be this way forever. Seems like a lot of America is doing that now, what with the vampire craze and dystopian fiction and superheroes and antioxidants. If we weren't so prosperous, we wouldn't mind dying. It would be more of a relief, a rest. Life is pretty good, and I've got to cherish every second.

the Biscuit: Mommy, did you know GRAVY is a kind of rain inside of you?

me: That's deep.

the Biscuit: Also, gravy is good for painting on the windows.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

happy doorbell

After one too many after-school specials in the early 1990's, I began to fear the doorbell. Girl Scouts are the only exception to this rule, because cookie delivery is a BRILLIANT CONCEPT*.

But tonight, when my doorbell rang, a very sweet, creative, thoughtful, and talented second grader brought me these awesome handmade earrings:

Can you think of a more fabulous thank-you gift for art lessons?

Je crois non.

But I'll let you in on a little secret.

It's probably more fun for me than it is for her (and her best friend).

I'll also admit that the first picture didn't turn out so well.

That one didn't really do the earrings justice.

Also, lest you think a housebound mom / writer/volunteer art teacher is the apotheosis of cool**, let me remind you of this:

I enjoy drinking Candy Cane Lane decaf green tea out of the mug I received at high school graduation. You just don't see quality splatter-painting with confetti like that in the aughts.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to finish editing this book. And drink some tea.

* That needs to spread to the world of cupcakes.

* *Anyone who can identify this quote WITHOUT GOOGLE is a certified repository of kickassery, and I SALUTE YOU.

*** Why do I insist on constantly making myself seem lame? It's a bad habit. I am actually very cool and enjoy tooling around Italy on a scooter saying "Ciao".

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

holy cupe, it's a crack!

1. Holy crap, it's a cuke! That's what I meant to say. The cucumber plant in our container garden is the first to have teeny tiny baby veggies. They look like green hedgehog fetuses growing on a vine, if you know what I mean.

2. Holy crap, it's awesome to have a mother's helper! For the uninitiated, a mother's helper is a wholesome, hardworking girl of about 12 or 13 who comes to your house and plays with your kids while you actually get crap done. It's the best thing since Belgian Chocolate Truffle powdered creamer.

3. Holy crap, the next book is almost ready for beta readers! Only 50 more pages, and V2 is ready to roll out. Any writers or otherwise critique-minded folk out there interested in about 95k of Outlander meets True Blood? Not that non-writers can't be helpful, it's just that I need an actual, hard-nosed, unapologetic critique. A beta reader must be someone who reads a lot and knows about the craft of writing and can look at both the big picture and the little niggling details, such as misspellings and using the word "clishmaclaver" too often. And someone who points out big, run-on sentences like that one, too. I'm willing to trade crits with another writer, so long as you're not writing about fallen angels.

4. Holy crap, t.rex is night weaned and sleeping 10 hours straight. IT'S AWESOME.

5. Holy crap, cold dark chocolate is waxilly wonderful. Especially the Godiva Twilight mix, which has nothing to do with the movie, I promise.

6. Holy crap, Dr. Krog is getting really buff. It's intimidating. If I told you about his workout, about this thing he does called Living Death that involves chin ups and push ups and fighting zombies, you would puke in sympathy. His arms are all veiny now. I've taken up yoga so that I can feel taller and thereby slimmer without actually approaching weights. I'm still scarred from the Shred.

7. Holy crap, kids eat a lot of fruit. i bought 1.5 pounds of grapes and a pint of strawberries at 4pm, and they're both almost gone.

8. Holy crap, I want to have a cold glass of Reisling and chat with Dr. Krog about my recent bouts of mortality salience, the new cat, and that weird dream I had about being in Sam Merlotte's bar/toy store and saying, "When a pretty girl asks you to dance, you don't tell her to watch you juggle. You dance."

9. So I'm going to do that.

10. Goodnight.

11. Seriously, don't you have commuting to do? Go commute.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

a very sad, chubby panda

What has two thumbs and doesn't want to wean?


Seriously, the "calmly and reasonably start dropping feedings" thing does not always work.

It's going to have to be cold turkey, and I'm going to have to go somewhere with a beach, a pool, a jacuzzi, and a place to work quietly on my book while ordering delicious vegan room service.


It's not my fault. It's not like I *want* to.

But he won't take no for an answer. And the crying's driving me more insane than usual.

Just like a man. Spend all day trying to grab the ta-tas and throw a tantrum when there's no ta-ta to be had.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

more good gnus!

We've added to our family!

NO, I'M NOT PREGNANT. Don't even say it. Don't even think it.

Especially not when you see me at the neighborhood pool, because I'll lock in you in dank, stinky cell that is the pool bathroom, where some nasty little boy always forgets to flush.

First, there's this:

That's right. A container garden. THAT IS FLOURISHING.

Why did no one tell me that the key to raising plants is utter negligence?

That doesn't work with kids, right?

Anyway, I have something to help with self-entertainment of the teeny tiny sort, too.

Egads. She won't hold still. And the kids kept jumping into the shot.

It's like herding cats. And children.

Let's try that again.

No, that didn't work either.

Maybe if I pretend to walk away and enthusiastically call them all to follow me. I could be the Pied Piper of Yogurt Pops or something. Cats like yogurt pops, right?

Let's hope poor Kiki never has to find out.

There she is. And the Biscuit LUFFS her so. She has spent the last two days running around the house in her Hello Kitty underpants with a straw in her mouth, claiming she's a cat. And Kiki has been surprisingly gracious and chill about it.

My main questions when we adopted her from Petsmart:

1. Does she want to dash out the door, crawl through my air vent, claw up my carpet, and make my life a complete hell like some other cat I won't mention?

2. Um. Just #1, really.

The answer was "no", and it actually appears to be true. Dr. Krog picked our little moppet out because she was friendly, small, tabby, and reminded him of his favorite cat growing up, Slinky. And we named her Kiki because, a. We end up calling most cats keekee anyway, and b. They couldn't decide if her name was Kathryn, Karen, or Kathleen, so we thought going with multiple K sounds would be helpful.

I'm happy to be back in Catland. I can be a real writer, now that there's a cat to try to walk over the laptop keys while I edit.