Thursday, February 26, 2009

Falling Off the High Wire

I don't know how to balance. I want to be Mom, I want to be Special Needs Advocate. I want to be Writer and Wife and Young Women's Leader. Friend. Daughter. Sister. I want to be The Nice Person in Line. I want to be the Go-To Girl. I want to pick up the slack if you are unable to. I want to make your life better somehow.

I'm not insane enough to think that I can do it perfectly. I'm not even tempted to try! I just want to do my best, and shouldn't that be good enough? That said, I have cried every single day, at least twice, for the last four days. I'm used up. I'm worn out.

And...just as I wrote that, Niko fought his way into my lap, and Nina gave me a open-mouthed kiss on the cheek. I think they're telling me that I'm doing something right. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Twilight Zone

So why is it six in the morning, and I'm at the computer? With Nina on my lap? And Niko playing Katamari Damacy? What is going on here?

I can't explain it really, unless we all fell into the Twilight Zone.

For the last four nights, my kids have been popping out of bed at the strangest of times. Two? No biggie. Sleeping in until nine? Why not! So this morning Niko wandered sobbing into our room. He didn't want to lie down. He didn't want to be held. He wanted to start the dishwasher. At, you know, 4 AM. And his crying woke Nina, who has been begging for Winnie-the-Pooh's 1-2-3 for the last half hour. So 4:30 and the house was in full swing. We all bundled up and dropped Luke off at the bus stop, in case I get another call from Niko's school. He acts out when he's tired, so I'm prepared. And yes, he's definitely going to school! Being tired does not excuse us from our responsibilities. I have a full day and then Young Women's New Beginnings tonight, and I'm sure I'll be bleary-eyed, but present.

I was up until 1:00 working on queries and things that I can't do when the kids are awake. Printers and unblemished paper are a siren call for my kids. I had more to do, but the printer ran out of ink.

Typical. :P

Monday, February 23, 2009


These are my thoughts on celebrities: I'm tired of them.

I'm tired of actresses thinking that they're political gurus. I'm tired of actors openly attacking religion. I'm tired of rock stars and their lame behavior. I'm tired of the excess, and the loudness, and their belief that somehow "the little people" care about what they have to say. Their reality is not my reality. I'm sorry if economic times are tough and they have to tighten their belts by waiting until next week before buying their fourth house.

But I love to see their gowns. :)

Good news: It's raining, which always makes me happy. I think that I have become more Vegas than I previously thought, because anything below 70 degrees makes me run for a sweater. (I know, right? And we lived in the land of ice and snow!) It's 60 degrees right now, and I'm bundled up like an Eskimo. Oh, the shame.

Even better news: My old Seattle cohorts got together to recreate our old discussion group. Since we've all scattered to the four corners of the earth ("Scatter! They can't get all of us at once!") they've set it up online. I can't wait to reconnect with these down-to-earth, talented, intelligent women. They're amazing, and I'm giddy to be associated with them.

I received three agent rejections in the last 48 hours. So not only do I have rejections from magazines, but now I have agent rejections, as well! Double the rejections! It's a bit disheartening, but I really believe in my story. It's a tale of hope. Good things are also coming from this, as always. Nothing has ever come easy, and I've always learned a lot from working my way through and paying my dues. This is what I want the most, and it's worth the effort. I know I'll appreciate it more after the sweat and the toil.

The other thing is that I'm getting this amazing support. From Luke, of course. From my friends. From my writing group and the writing and editing community that I've hooked up with. They tell me to chin up and check out different avenues for me. These are the nice things that I'm going to print out and paper my walls with. Rejection is wearing, but people are good and genuinely want to help each other out. I'm grateful. It feels like a net underneath me, when the rest of this is so frightening.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oh. No.

Hello, I am alive. Yes, it is true! It is also true that it's four in the morning and I'm posting on my blog! Why? Because I am absolutely nuts.

Niko crawled into bed with us tonight, and I can't go back to sleep. I also realized that when I step on the pergo in our bathroom, I'm feeling wetness from between the slats. So I've been looking up "water damage" and "replacing pergo flooring" and "why, oh why, does this sort of thing always happen to me?!" No, I didn't really look up that last one, although I did google "Run away, screaming," and then hardy har harred for a while because of it.

The nurse's office called the other day. Niko had bit that same aid (remember the black eye two weeks ago?) through his shirt and had broken the skin. They called me to come get him because he refused to let them rinse out his mouth. Naturally, I had the "I don't have a car, let me make a zillion phone calls!" panic (this is where my mother interjects A Loving Silence Heavy With Meaning, but no, we can't swing another vehicle at this time) and since Luke was in town, he came home. We tried to meet with the Principal, but she's out of town at the moment.

Here's the thing. Niko has never hurt himself by headbonking, and suddenly there's a "headbonking incident" that gave him that nasty shiner. And then he out of the blue bites this same aid less than a month later? He has been behaving so well! Not saying that this aid is acting inappropriately with Niko, but obviously something is going on. Perhaps he's acting in a way that Niko just doesn't like, or Niko just doesn't like him, (which I've never seen before) but the end result is that only one new thing has been introduced in the last few weeks, and it's (gasp!) this aid. I don't understand the Principal's policy of shaking up the status quo, which is why I want to talk to her. They switch aids, and my son's coming home looking like he's been scrapping in the schoolyard. When the nurse told me that the aid had to go to Quick Care because of the bite, I was sorry, of course. I laud anybody that chooses to work in a school. But the aid is an adult. Niko is a five year old boy who doesn't fully understand at the best of times. I think he's the one that needs me to speak for him.

I say this courageously, but inside I'm dying. Please don't let this be last year all over again. I don't know if I'm strong enough to go through it a second time. It's my worst nightmare.

On the writing front....well. Things were going well, and then not so well, and then I made a rookie mistake because I have too many things on my plate and I'm completely overwhelmed. Hence "Running away, screaming." More about that on It's just painful, really. But I'll learn from it, yadda yadda .

Oh, and I ran out of Coke today, but only for a few hours. My weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth prompted my husband to haul the family out to the grocery store. Now I have 10 liters of it, and I'm very, very happy. I like to open the cupboard and see my back-up bottles standing sentinel in their bright, shiny glory.

Goodnight, er, good morning, all!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hello, I Think That I'll Explode You Now.

"Do you remember the Great Marshmallow Fiasco of 2009?"

"Do I?! Man, I barely survived it!"

Corn syrup? Check. Unflavored gelatin? Check. Explosions involving glass bowls, lethal projectiles, and delicious marshmallowy goodness? Check, check, and check.

The best part about this whole thing was that just seconds before the explosion, I asked Luke to man the egg beater while I ran off to check the recipe. So after the sound of broken glass diminished, there was my sweet husband standing there in his business suit, covered with glass and marshmally goodness. And then he starts to laugh. Yes, ladies and gentleman, I married a man who became the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, and instead of freaking out, he laughed. He left me with cleanup while he ran to his meetings, for sure, but he was still guffawing as he ran out the door.

That said, I'm still undaunted. I'll try the recipe again later when I have the time. Maybe Thursday or so? I'm like a mad scientist in my lab. Failure? What failure? There will be homemade peppermint marshmallows in my near future, by jove!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

So Now It's Flooding. And That's Alright, Too.

I love the rain! It makes me feel like I am home. I don't necessarily love the flooding in the streets, but it's manageable. I'm drinking hot chocolate and trying to figure out computer issues. All in all, not bad of a day. I'm sad that I'm missing my sister-in-law's baby shower (We love you, Ali!) but Luke had to go in for training, and we couldn't make it up north. Sometimes these things happen.

So Niko's brandishing a kitchen ladle and watching the rain. Nina is sick and down for a nap. I'm taking a break from query letters (curse you, query letters!) and I'm looking up homemade marshmallow recipes. I despise cooking, most of you know that, but baking and treats are completely different. In some other parallel universe, I'm a chocolatier.

Niko's eye is looking a bit better. I can't tell you the feelings that it triggered in me, seeing him come home hurt like that. I was flashing back to the abuse investigation from last year. I was talking to my friend and I told her, "I don't know if I can do this again!" She caught me in an extremely vulnerable moment, to say the least. And she said, "You can. And you'll probably have to. Niko is most likely going to be a target for the rest of his life." Well, ouch. But so true. She's absolutely right, and she said what I needed to hear. So thanks, Jan! I can pull myself together when I really need to.

I received some positive feedback on "The Boy Who Hangs The Stars". It's a tough thing, because it's in print (which is more desirable) but then nobody can read us unless they buy the anthology. I'm sorry in a way because I think it's a lovely story about friendship and hope, and I wish that you could all read it. But at the same time, not a lot of people buy books anymore. I could wax on about the sad state of the economy and how people don't read like they used to, blah blah blah, but who is really interested in that right now? Not I. Anyway, it was nice to hear that somebody liked it, even if it wasn't his usual genre. It made me smile a little to think of a huge bear of a man, a horror writer, pawing through a story about stars and feathery wings. Just goes to show that we can all use some whimsy, yeah?

The querying is tedious. (More about that at But as soon as I get it going, I think that I'm ready to start thinking about another novel. Do I finish my demon one? Do I rewrite my second in the Ray series? Do I start the third, which I've been thinking about lately? Or do I veer off into something completely new and different? It's delicious. It's getting me excited about writing again!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Headbonks and Black Eyes

Another day, another phone call from the school nurse. Actually, it's been a while since the last few phone call fiascoes, where I think that Niko is dying and actually he needs a diaper change, or whatever. Apparently they switched aids today, and I have no idea why they would do that. Niko is like most children: routine is paramount. Switch it up and he goes crazy. In this case, crazy meant headbonking a new aid who wasn't savvy to his tricks, and said headbonking resulted in this black eye.

I completely feel that this school is different than his last school in terms of abuse. Or "possible abuse" or "suspected abuse" or "alleged abuse" or whatever it is that I'm supposed to say, since an investigation was conducted, some discipline was meted, and all of the rest that they couldn't tell me due to confidentiality. His current school feels very different to me, and they're quick to call if they feel it's necessary. (Twice this week, in fact!) But one thing that the school district dragged me over the coals for was not taking pictures of the bruising. So I've learned. Do I think Niko is being abused in his new class? Not at all. Not in the least. But here's a picture, anyway.

That said, I'm working on a rather gentle new story right now. Its working title is "Iris" and it's unfolding a bit differently than I had originally intended, but I'm pleased with it. Novels are a lot of fun, but short stories are beautiful, joyful things. Their brevity is refreshing.

I'm also a top ten finalist in the OTP writing contest! Woo hoo! If I win, I'm buying a sewing machine! If I lose...I'm still saving up my writing money to buy a sewing machine, so yay! As always, I cheerfully yammer on at I also had a piece go up today! Avert your eyes from some of the others if horror isn't your thing. It isn't mine, necessarily, but most of the pieces were tongue-in-cheek.

Oh! And this made me happy! Go see my friends' band site! They're really fun to listen to, but even more amazing to watch. Read their blog. Wait, where is it that they're sending you? That's right! Hobnobbing with rockstars, people. :P

Sunday, February 01, 2009

White Winged Butterflies

Niko and I have some sort of monstrous cold (As always). Luke and Nina managed to slide through relatively unscathed, knock on wood.

So I've been drinking hot chocolate and looking up butterflies for a story that I'm revising. I'm particularly interested in the Appias Albina, because it's wings are so translucent and lovely in the pictures that I'm coming across. Simply stunning. Do yourself a favor and look them up. I'm so pleased that such things of beauty exist in this world.