Thu, Mar. 13th, 2014, 02:36 pm

The other day I was looking for a book that fell behind one of the living-room bookcases and found something I hid from the Boy about eight years ago.

2014-2-26 Recorder

Tue, Feb. 25th, 2014, 10:46 am

My sister-in-law is a classy, stylish, put-together person who has, over the years, been trying to nudge me toward a version of adulthood that involves nice things. Which is kind of her but a bit of a lost cause.

For Winter Holiday this year, she gave me a beautiful set of quirky red square bowls:

2014-2-25 Bowl

The rest of our bowls are of two distinct species: 1) battered, aging relics from our original wedding-gift set of white-with-a-pedestrian-blue-stripe Target dinnerware, and 2) clunky baby blue "ceramic" bowls purchased at the thrift store for $1 apiece to replace three of the originals after the Boy opened his elbow on the broken pieces and required eight stitches at age five.

Anyway. This morning, I notice the Boy eating cereal out of one of the shiny new bowls. To make conversation I say, "Hey, that's one of Aunt G's bowls!"

"Yeah, I like them," he replies.

"Me too!" Actual non-grunt-based conversation at 6:47 am is rare, so I'm trying to keep things going. "Aren't they pretty? They're so solid and sturdy and red."

"They're square," he says. "Makes it easier to guzzle the sugar-milk out of one of the corners."

Then he demonstrates.

Keep trying, Aunt G. We'll try to stay classy.

Thu, Jan. 23rd, 2014, 03:07 pm

I asked the Boy if he had any tupperware in his room that needed to be washed. This is what he brought down:

2014-1-23 Tupperware

In case you're wondering, yes, I did make him wash them himself. Because eew.

Wed, Jan. 1st, 2014, 04:15 pm

Here's what the Boy got me for Winter Holiday:

2014-1-1 O's Gift

Where's that Mother of the Year award?

Fri, Dec. 6th, 2013, 01:08 pm

Recently I had a visitor who commented on the number of books in my living room. In fact, her exact words were, "You can't have read all these books, can you?"

"Yes," I told her. "I mean, if they're mine and not my husband's, I've read pretty much all of them."

I don't think she believed me.

But it made me curious. I know there are people out there who sort of collect books, or people who buy books meaning to read them and just don't get around to it quickly. I get most of my books from the library because I don't have a lot of disposable income, so if I go to the trouble and expense of buying a book (or it's given to me), chances are I'm going to read it right away.

So what about you guys?

Of all the books you personally own, how many have you actually read?*

Every last damn one of them. What are you, nuts?
Almost all of them. Over 90%
Most of them - maybe 75-80%
About half.
Some of them - less than 20%
I don't buy books so I don't have this problem.

* You don't have to count books belonging to your spouse/significant other/roommate/cat.

Mon, Dec. 2nd, 2013, 02:27 pm

I have a new day job.  It's part time, but it's work I like doing and there's plentiful access to interlibrary loan.

It's a nice way to end 2013.

Mon, Oct. 28th, 2013, 08:41 am

So Kate Hart recently made the cover of THE WICKED AND THE JUST one of her patterns for the YA book pumpkin-carving contest over at YA Highway.

My first thought: Incoherent squeeing!

My second thought: Challenge accepted.

My third thought: I'm gonna decapitate the girl with one overenthusiastic and/or clumsy flick of the knife, aren't I?

But, undaunted, I acquired the necessary supplies and proceeded.


The instructions said to print out the picture and use a toothpick to make little holes around the black areas, then cut those areas out.  My pumpkin was a tough bugger and busted all the toothpicks I tried.  But it couldn't withstand finishing nails.


(In related news, if you keep finishing nails in a recycled plastic food container in your basement, they get kind of grotty.)

Poking Holes

Holes Poked

Time to carve!  I started with Caernarvon Castle because frankly, it was all straight lines and looked easier.  After hacking off several crenellations, I got the hang of it.  (Even though it did end up looking a little like the NYC skyline.)


Then I tried to cut the spiky grass in the corner.  I mixed up all my guide holes (huh-huh, I said "guide holes") and it ended up looking like the flames of hell.  (Somewhat appropriate?  Maybe.)


Stumpkitty arrived to lend her particular brand of assistance.


Then the hard part: the girl.  I started with her feet (fairly low-stakes), then cut around her dress.  As I was gingerly slicing around her head, I was convinced I was going to channel Madog ap Llywelyn and punch out half the castle as well.  But by some miracle, it ended up looking like this:


So here 'tis.  Compared to the awesome ones on Kate's site, it looks like a Pinterest fail.  (Astute viewers will note the supporting toothpick holding Caernarvon out of the Menai Strait.)  But, unlike the book, no one got dismembered and no castles were harmed in the making of this pumpkin.


Fri, May. 24th, 2013, 04:13 pm

THE WICKED AND THE JUST has a shiny new paperback cover!


Thu, Apr. 25th, 2013, 08:00 am


Mon, Apr. 1st, 2013, 07:47 am

Some of you playing along at home may remember that the Boy is taking creative writing this year as one of his electives. He was actually excited about the class when he signed up. I had high hopes. Visions of workshops and studio time and the three-act structure danced in my head.

Me: So how’s creative writing going?
Him: *long silent look he imagines to be meaningful, indicating that I am being nosy and should mind my own business*
Me: C’mon, this is professional curiosity.
Him: Okay, I guess.
Me: What does your teacher have you working on?
Him: Like, writing? Nothing. She has us watch movies and write down the themes.
Me: o_O
Him: I’m not sure we’re going to be writing anything.
Me: So, um. . . sounds more like English class to me.
Him: Yeah, she’s usually an English teacher. Don’t know why she’s teaching this class. She says she’s a writer, but she’s not published or anything.

Here’s the thing - I don’t believe that publication somehow confers the qualification to teach writing, but I do wonder how anyone who calls herself a writer can run a creative writing class without extolling the cardinal virtue of butt-in-chair. Even before I was published I knew on a cellular level that writing made you a writer. Not wanting to write. Not thinking about writing. Not reading books about writing. And definitely not watching movies to extract the themes.

I’ve spent a lot of pixels in this space complaining about some of the Boy’s teachers over the years, but ever since the Husband started teaching and has been forced by circumstance to work routine eighty-hour weeks with no extra compensation or enough resources and still be told he’s not doing enough, I have a little more sympathy.

And even though I don’t have a teaching degree, I’m pretty sure there should be some, oh I don’t know, actual writing in a creative writing class. But instead of complaining, I’m off to beta the Boy’s new short story. Somewhere along the line he got the message.

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