Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Don't Wanna. And a Link!

I did it. I wrote a 1,000 word essay about Niko and submitted it somewhere. It's about the time he started the toaster on fire, and very nearly took the house with it. It wasn't as painful as it has been in the past, so that's a great sign.

I put Nina on a little riding toy that it took Niko two years to master. She hopped right on and had it down, and it makes me take a step back with my hands on my hips. Well. So this is what it's like for "typical" kids. I suppose I see why people are so taken back by my son. I'm proud of both of my kids, for what they can each do. I can't compare them, and frankly I don't want to. So take that, World. You can't make me. :P

My story is out today! This is the first thing that I ever published, and I was all "Yahoo!" on this blog about it. This is an online reprint, so you guys get to read it, if you'd like. It's one of my very favorites.


Monday, September 29, 2008

A Shameless Plug for My Friend

I wrote this serviceable but not fantastic horror piece for a contest, and I was very proud of myself for completing and submitting it. Anyway, I get this email saying that it didn't place in the contest, but they would still like to run the piece, and of course I was very excited, right? Wait, it gets better. So a few minutes later I open an email from my best writer friend Dawn, and what's this?! SHE is the first place winner of the contest, and gets goodies and fame and fortune! I cannot tell you how excited and pleased I am for her! That girl is a writing maniac, and the whole reason that I have so many pieces out right now is because we galvanize/egg each other on. She's also coming out in the Northern Haunts anthology whenever that's published. My friend Dawn Allison. Horror writer. Keep an eye out because you'll see her again, and can be all, "I heard of her back in the day."

Anyway! The most exciting part to me is that she and I will be published in the same online issue of a magazine! I think that's a very sweet success. I'll link when it's out. :)

Switching subjects, we're waiting for Niko's bus, and Niko has really been spending a lot of time at the piano lately. He's never exhibited the stereotypical Williams savant music skills, but he's really been playing some beautiful chords on the piano and keyboard. He played up and down, stopping at the octaves, which amazed me. I heard him last night and thought it was Luke playing.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I called Mom today and whined. Luke's at work again, the kids are driving me crazy, they won't get over their colds, I've had nothing but writing rejections this week, the house is dirty and eating me alive, blah blah blah. My mother is a good woman. She told me that it was okay to complain because I need a break and can't have one, and neither can Luke. And having her validate my frustration really perked me up a bit, which has gotten me through the day. Thus far.

She also said that nothing is going to get accomplished today, and just to accept it. And again, she was right. I've been trying to buy GRE study guides online for...about four hours now. It takes me THAT long to browse, research, put in a cart and buy. Because there are bumps to kiss and fights to referee and tummies to fill. I don't drink, and I'm very grateful at times like this, because I'd be passed out cold with an empty bottle in my hand otherwise.

So, MFA. I think it's a good idea. It isn't something that I have prayed about yet, but I'm excited to be moving in that direction. The whole "what am I going to do with my children while I'm at class" thing is a concern though, and so far I can't even find a schedule of what the classes will look like, so I can have an idea. But the GRE is good for five years, so even if it's not something feasible for next year, it will have been an accomplishment that I can use later. And honestly, how could studying for anything be bad? Education=good. Enough said.

So in November I'll be trying to write my third (and a half) novel and studying for the biggest exam of my life. Send help. Send chocolate. Send straightjackets and loving words of support. And Amy, I want to ask you about going back to school, but I can't find a way to get in contact with you! I'd like to pick your brain.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Down Time

The kids are sick, Luke's working all day even though it's Saturday, and I've had a migraine for about two days now. All I want to do is sleep, but I'm trying to soldier through because I'm home alone with the kids. But Six Little Things went up today, if anybody would like a charming little read. I quite like how he did the colors and layout, and I'm pleased to be a part of it.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


When Niko saw me from the bus today, he jumped up and down, flipped his hands, and grinned. That's why I like being a mom. He did some good hooting and "uh-uh"ing on the phone to Luke today, some of the best phone convo that I've heard. I have much hope for this little boy. Nina thinks that he hung the moon, and always wants to be wherever he is. They're so lovely.

And Mr. Poetry Magazine took me back! My poem will be published in Kill Poet sometime in the near future. Today is quite a sparkly day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Good News and Bad News

Bad news first, then it's out of the way. I was reading the requirements for the MFA here, and it needs you to spend some time abroad. Six credits worth of time, however long that is, going to school there and speaking the language. And I'm thinking, "Not bloody likely!" Shall I ask Luke to can his job and pack up our children? Shall I jaunt off alone to a foreign country? Who is this program tailored for, anyway? Rich single people? I took three years of French, and thanks to Luke, we're exposed to Russian on a daily basis. We read culturally diverse stories to our children, and I feel that I have traveled extensively. I'm going to write and ask if previous experience qualifies. We lived in Helsinki, for crying out loud! I can lead them around Jakomaki on the bus. Shouldn't that count? I hope so. It's worth asking.

On a side note, I realize that I'm less likely to take no for an answer than I was before. I'm happy about this.

So the good news! My pixie story was accepted for next month's issue of Reflections Edge. It's one that I'm fond of, and really enjoyed writing. I hope some of you get a chance to read it, if you so desire. Some of you will recognize one of the characters, namely the shark. He sleeps on our bed every night. He's bigger than my husband, but it all works out.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Think I'm Crazy.

The kids were in fine form today at church. They bucked, screamed, and Niko headbutted Luke in the face a good one. He bloodied my nose doing that the other day, and we're trying to A) move quicker and B) break him of this new, disturbing habit. It's not just us, either. You can tell our friends because they're the ones shouting "My face, my beautiful face!"

I'm seriously thinking of getting my MFA. Crazy, right? How are we going to work that out? Financially, with babysitting, with the whole application process. I'm scared of the GRE. I'm scared of tracking down old professors and begging letters of recommendation from them. I graduated college eight years ago. This is insane. And yet it makes my heart pound. There's a creative writing program here in the city. Part of me says, "Do I dare?"

The other part says, "Oh, yeah. You dare."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Beautiful Things Happen!

Niko's new teacher called last night. We were all supposed to send in pictures of our families to school, and she called to say that when she showed Niko's pictures, he became extremely exited and proud. She said that she knew he wouldn't be able to tell me, but that she thought I'd want to know. You know what? I did want to know! And taking the time to call and tell me was exceptional on her part.

I received a strange, blocky letter with no return address. When I opened it, I nearly cried. Somebody had mailed back my driver's license, credit cards, Barnes and Noble membership card and the Jo Ann Fabric coupon that had been in my wallet.

The On The Premises and CoolStuff4Writers' stories are both up now. The OTP entry is one that I especially liked. Luke laughed and said, "Oh my gosh," but I was in my female serial killer phase right then.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tell Me, Mr. Poetry Magazine, Do You Still Love Me?!

I don't know what I want in a writing relationship. I feel in love with this certain tall, dark, and mysterious poetry magazine months ago, and sent it some of my favorite pieces. But I never heard back and never heard back, and eventually came to the sad conclusion that it was never meant to be, that the magazine had folded and I was to be alone forever. So today I sent an email withdrawing my poems. And then I received a response.

It was beautifully written all lowercase prose, although it was broken into stanzas like poetry. "why?" it asked me. The loveliness was almost heartbreaking. "you are talented, your poems will find a home elsewhere."

I don't want my poems to be elsewhere, I want them to be there! I tell you that generally my whimsy guides me, and my whimsy wanted this site and this site alone. My heart was stolen and I can never get it back. Even their response to my withdrawal was evanescent and lovely.

So I begged. "I thought you were nonfunctional, I went about this all wrong, please reconsider!" I had broken off my engagement and now I wanted to take it back. But the question is, will I be forgiven? I'm dying to know.

It's a rookie mistake, and I am most definitely a rookie. I'm learning new things every day, and now I know not to make assumptions and that I should query before withdrawing. I learn from my mistakes, but I would be so much happier to learn from an *almost* mistake.

I've been asked if I'll ever write about Niko and Williams. I have, in a way. I submitted an essay to Real Simple that I never expect to hear back on. I'd like to do an article sometime, because I think a Williams parent could write it differently than anybody else could. But at the same time, it's too hard. I've tried so many times, and they either come out clinical (our life isn't clinical) or weepy (our life isn't weepy). They don't turn out how I'd like them to, because it's still so raw. I don't know how to explain my son to those who don't know him. One of my friends told me to write my essay like I was writing him a letter, and it did help. It was much looser and informal, but still not quite right. But do you know what is right? This blog. I can speak about Niko on my terms, in my own way, and I feel like there isn't judgement. It's...very nice.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More Jumping and Screaming

Today I learned that I won the CoolStuff4Writers.com August contest! It'll be up soon.

I asked Luke if he thought I'd ever stop hopping up and down and being excited if something got published. He said that he didn't think so. He makes me so incredibly happy. So again, http://abrokenlaptop.wordpress.com if you're interested in reading some of these pieces.

Niko went happily (I hope!) to school. We took a one year picture of Nina, who was an emotional mama's girl today, and it reflected in her teary eyed pictures. I think they're wonderful.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

On The Premises

I got a happy email today saying that I tied for first place in the On The Premesis #6 Mini Contest. I'm so excited! It should be up soon.

Oh No They Di'n't!

Oh yes they did!

I get a call from Niko's school. AGAIN. They say, "He's fussy and I think he needs to go to the hospital." AGAIN. I don't have the car. AGAIN. So I call June in tears, AGAIN, and she is my emergency contact so she goes to pick him up. Which is fortunate, because I wouldn't be able to pick him up since I lost my wallet and ID. AGAIN.

So they think Niko is warm and his eyes are goopy, but they can't take his temperature. He threw a massive fit, and perhaps that's why the nurse decided that he needs medical attention. He comes home, and he's fine. No temp, good spirits. He plays with his friends. He's all right.

I understand their concern, and especially when considering his past medical history. But being called twice in his first two weeks of school is not okay. I called his teacher and said, "Please talk to them again! I'm throwing emergency clothes in a bag while I'm waiting for my son to arrive at home! Please remind them that my first instinct is panic."

I asked if maybe I should take a video of Niko when he's tantruming because it's fairly typical Nikolai behavior. Perhaps if the people at school were more familiar with it, it wouldn't be as frightening to them.

I don't want to be the mother who is always calling the school. But I want my son to have an education and a routine. It's a fine line between advocate and overbearing.

Perhaps I will do a Niko postand link them to it, perhaps with a video. Maybe I'll explain a few things about him individually, so they are aware. Things like: you will never, ever get a temperature from him, so don't even try. He flips the SECOND anything even remotely medical is around. Luke had a caulking gun on Saturday, and Niko went haywire. I guess those things really do look like gigantic hypodermics. And Niko 's eyes tend to be somewhat goopy, even though he had surgery for that when he was younger. I genuinely believe that most people truly want to do their best. I need to find a kind, non-condescending way to show them.

Monday, September 08, 2008

I Have A Sister Blog!

Because my life is so interesting that it takes two! JUST KIDDING.

I put up a list of the places that I've been published. Hopefully one day it'll be long and grand and wonderful. For right now, I think it's just grand and wonderful. I have always, always wanted to become a writer, and I'm slowly launching off. Quite honestly, I never thought that I could do it. I lack discipline and determination. Well, I used to, anyway. I've been working very hard on it. Luke can attest.

Thanks to all of you who asked where you could see my stuff. You made my little heart shine.


Friday, September 05, 2008


So the assistant superintendent called back today. She interviewed the two teachers who saw Niko's abuse. Or supposedly saw Niko's abuse. One teacher said that she didn't see anything, which is NOT what she said before. The second said that Niko was screaming (and many are familiar with the Williams meltdown, aren't we?) and his teacher grabbed him roughly by the arm and sat him down in his chair, end of story. She said she reported it to the principal, who took care of it at the time by coming into the room often. Which is NOT what she told me on the phone, in fact, she told me the opposite. Not to mention that she felt inclined to bring it up again over a year later.

The assistant superintendent politely asked if I was satisfied. Yes, I'm as satisfied as I'm going to be. I'm angry, though. And tired. The school's aware that something possibly went on, and somebody somewhere is lying. Who, exactly? I don't know. Whoever would be heartless enough to lie about the possible abuse of a little boy.

That's not my problem, though. Officially, I'm "satisfied". I don't know what really happened, and I most likely never will. I mourn the bridges that were burnt, but I acted as carefully and correctly as I knew how. I learned a lot through this process, and perhaps this whole rigmarole is information that somebody needs someday. That's the whole reason that I started this blog in the first place, years ago. In case somebody needed it.

This phone call today, the fact that it's been investigated and is now over, this should be good news to me. Instead I find myself sitting here and trying to remember how much optimism and faith I have in humanity.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Phone Call

I received a call from the Assistant Superintendent saying that she was interviewing two teachers this week regarding Niko's alleged abuse in school. I appreciate the call, and I'm sure she appreciates keeping me off her back. We're moving forward.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Nina Luna

I had a nightmare about Nina this morning, so I'm quite happy that she has pulled herself up next to me to chatter. She's wearing a little teal dress and her hair is flying around her head like dandelion fuzz. I think she and I are going for a walk and maybe out to lunch while Big Brother Nikolai is in school. Nightmares are horrible, but one thing that they have always done for me is to make me appreciate life once I wake up.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Perfect Weekend

We spent the evening at Luke's family's cabin. It was exactly what we needed! Nina played with her identical cousin, and Niko kept pulling Luke down to the creek to chase the cows. I drove the four-wheeler for the first time, and was advised not to shout out "Divot!" each time one came up. Apparently nobody needs to know about them except for me.

Also! I won this. I am very, very happy. Hooray!