Parenting and Toes

I’m glad to have coffee. It’s almost ridiculous how glad I am to have coffee.

Last night’s dinner was spicy rice noodles, and of course the conversation was several different flavors of hilarity. I often do threads of Things Said At Dinner, and last night’s was particularly amusing. That’s one thing parenting manuals don’t mention–kids are hysterically funny, especially if you extend the courtesy of treating them like human beings.

It’s amazing (and maddening) how many adults won’t. I used to think a steel wall descended once people reached eighteen or twenty-one, and they forgot what it was like to be a kid. Of course, I say “my kids” as if they aren’t legally adults now.

My gods, where does the time go?

In any case, the big question under discussion last night was, “How many toes are too many?” and that, my friends, is the kind of question that needs more details in order to properly answer. My answer, of course, was dependent on whether we were talking human toes, whether the toes were upon a human foot, whether said human washed said foot regularly, and the answer arrived at (assuming all the previous answers were yes) was that as long as they were washed at least daily (give or take) I didn’t care how many toes there were. There could, I asserted, be a damn infinity of toes as long as the aforesaid conditions were satisfied. The Princess concurred, with the codicil that she didn’t want to know how many toes anyone had, seeing as how that’s Personal Information.

The Prince blurted, “Eighty-two”, and was immediately challenged.

“That’s just random,” was the objection. “You aren’t really thinking about it at all.”

Whereupon he inquired if he should write a paper upon the subject, and through helpless laughter I told him to certainly do so, and furthermore, that he should post it on the internet since it was a question clearly deserving a serious and specific answer.

“Oh, hell no,” was his utterly serious response. “I’ll send you the PDF and you can post it on the internet.”

I think it exceedingly unlikely that he will ever write said paper, being far too occupied with real schoolwork. But the idea is extremely amusing, and should he produce an extra-credit effort in the toe field I will let you guys know.

A great many parents view their children as ego extensions rather than human beings. Likewise, a great many teachers view their students as objects to exercise petty power upon–please note that most teachers are extremely dedicated individuals, so that isn’t a blanket indictment. I’ve just dealt with so many of the bullying type, both while in school and while shepherding my kids through; it leaves rather a bad taste.

So many problems are solved by simply treating others like human beings. There’s always a few bad apples, and of course they spoil whole barrels. But on the whole, being reasonable is its own reward.

Not to mention it also gives one a great many chuckles along the way. Toes, my gods. There was a slight detour into the subject of tapir toes, another on whether or not centipede/millipede legs counted as toes, and at one point the terms “human” and “centipede” were placed in close proximity and all involved beat a hasty retreat from that particular conversational line.

There are some things even we don’t mention at dinner.

Anyway, I have to think about what I’m making for dinner tonight. And brace myself for what on earth the kids will bring to the table next.

I can’t wait.

Dustbin Guard

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I was out rambling the dogs before the snowpocalypse, and someone had a Very Large Dustbin before their domicile. It was almost full, too. I don’t know what was happening, but this fellow was standing guard at the door.

Boxnoggin, of course, considered him a Very Large Threat, straining at his harness and flinching every time the breeze made the intruder sway. True to form, Miss B was mildly interested until she decided the whole thing was boring1 and what really needed to happen was supervision of Boxnoggin, which meant she nipped at his hindquarters to get him to shut up.

He interpreted this as an attack from the big hanging thing, there was a fursplosion, and I had trouble hauling him away because I was laughing so hard.

Normally I would have stopped for a conversation with the fellow, but we couldn’t be heard over the dog(s) and it looked like he had a Serious Job anyway, guarding the bin. One doesn’t taunt or torment a poor soldier on duty. I’d’ve offered some refreshment, but by the time we saw the bin again after the snow it was empty and he had moved on. I hope he’s standing guard somewhere else.

But the dogs remember that there was a Thing there, and even when the giant metal bin vanishes they will be absolutely certain that slice of pavement holds something foreboding, and will have to stop and investigate it every time. Then they’ll forget something used to be there and merely halt because it’s habit, it’s what one does at that particular place. It’s amazing to see the process play out; there are places we absolutely, positively must stop on walkies because Something Forgotten Once Happened Here.

The Princess often remarks that we are to dogs what Tolkien’s elves are to humans, which is alternately hilarious and depressing. It makes me want to narrate their morning rambles in high fantasy style, with historical references2 but then I get sad thinking of how brief my furry little companions’ lives are.

It’s probably best to focus on the funny bits. I won’t be able to help myself, after all; I’ll mutter Boxnoggin, what does your dog nose smell? and start laughing like an idiot, humming a kazoo-laden rendition of Taking the Hobbits to Isengard. The dogs, of course, are used to me laughing at random things, and are just content to share my joy.

Happy Friday, my beloveds. It’s been A Week, even considering the year of lockdown. May we have calmer waters ahead, and may we find comfort in rituals. And please, dear gods, let the bin go on its merry way soon so Boxnoggin can stop freaking out every time we get within a block of it.

Over and out.

Gaga Dad Joke

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The Princess: “I… I had to buy them.”
Me: “You’re GODDAMN RIGHT you did.”
Also Me: “…what do they taste like?”
Princess: “Food coloring? I dunno. Try one.”
Me: “I’m good. I don’t need paparazzi.”
Princess: “But you have such a good poker face!”
Me: “I was born this way.”
Princess: “It wasn’t the product of a bad romance?”
Me: “I’m your mother. I can’t answer that.”
Princess: “…that’s fair.”
Me: “I gotta go.”
Princess: “Why, is something wro–“
Me: “I don’t want to talk anymore.”
Princess: “What hap–“
Me: “I lost my head and my heart on the dance floor.”
Princess: *groans*

That’s right. I did a Gaga-flavored dad joke. And I regret NOTHING.

Anyway, there was also a discussion of “they’re not chocolate Oreos, the dogs could technically–” followed by “do you really want either of those beasts on a sugar high?” and ending in a “…that’s fair, too.”

In conclusion, while I will never be too old to try new things, I am also old enough to look at certain things and say, “Nah, I’m good, you go ahead and enjoy.” I have informed the kids this is a perk of adulthood in general and motherhood in particular.

Then I went and ordered some Girl Scout cookies. Because I’m a gat-damn adult.

Have a good weekend, beloveds. Stay warm, hydrate, wash your hands, and wear your masks.

Pleased By Nothing

No snow yet. Not that I’m quite upset over it, mind–I know it’s a massive hassle to most people, it’s dangerous though pretty, and our part of the world is better off without it.

But I am a little selfishly disappointed. Ah well.

Nothing pleases me today. I am resentful of anything pulling me away from The Cold North, even though most of it is the unavoidable business of living–showers, eating, caring for those under my aegis. The rest of it is work that really does need to be done for other books, proofs and revisions and the like, oh my.

I’m happiest with a surfeit of work and should really stop complaining. But like I said… nothing is pleasing, today. The impeachment hearings are going on, and I am sick-saddened that once again the rich old white men will suffer no consequences. Over and over again they do the worst and endure no punishment. It’s enough to make me doubt justice itself.

Normally I’m a great believer in the arc of history bending towards the light, but I am so nauseous at the lack of consequences for murderous rich old white men, even that is denied me. My capacity for hope has taken quite a beating over the last few years.

Even if there’s no snow, we’ve still laid in a stock of hot choco. The Princess brought home marshmallows yesterday too, so at least there’s that. It’s still chilly enough to snuggle on the couch under a blanket I’m knitting, drink hot cocoa, and perhaps get the last bit of proofing done this weekend. There are also plans for potato-leek soup.

The Princess opened our produce order the other day and said, in tones of surpassing wonder, “There’s a leek in the box!” A short pause. “No, two leeks in the box!” And I laughed so hard I had to sit down while wheezing. All I could think of was SNL and Justin Timberlake’s Dick in a Box; she was thinking of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and honestly didn’t expect my response.

At odd times since, my brain has served up “It’s a leek in a box!” and I’ll start to snort-laugh helplessly.

This is, I suspect, why I’m unfit for any job or career where I have to be physically around people for any length of time. I just can’t stop cackling at entirely imaginary bullshit.

Anyway, it’s time to take my pleased-by-nothing self for a cuppa–always the best cure for whatever ails one, I firmly believe. And there’s the subscription stuff to be sent off today, after I finish the afternoon errands. I am not fit to be around others in public right now, but needs must when the devil drives, as usual.

Maybe this evening I can spend some time with the damn Viking werewolves. They refuse to sit down and be quiet inside my head–yet another sign of my general unfitness, alas. But it’s hilarious, and if I’m laughing, I don’t mind displeasure so much.

At least I’m having fun.

Over and out.

Free (Sock) Elf

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Earlier this week a package arrived, bearing this wonderful thing. A single sock.

You read that right. One singular hand-knitted sock.

It’s part of a pair knitted by a dear friend, but she thought it would be hysterical to send me one at a time. I promptly, of course, took to Twitter to shout “MISTRESS HAS GIVEN LILI A SOCK; LILI IS NOW A FREE ELF!” Which is exactly what she wanted.

I am a free fuckin’ elf, mofos.

I also finished the zero draft of HOOD‘s final season yesterday. Which means this morning I am cross-eyed, absorbing coffee, and wearing a pair of beautifully hand-knitted slipper socks. They aren’t really socks, of course; they’re a friend saying “I love you.” Like little hugs for my feet.

The feeling is more than reciprocated, and very welcome. I hope you have a little (or a lot) of it in your life as well, my beloveds.

Have a good weekend.

Magical Siblinghood of Those Who

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I took the weekend off-off. Completely off. I did a little revising, but mostly… I made cakes.

Yes, cakes. Plural.

We started Saturday with a nice white cake, avec whipped cream and sliced fruit. Then Sunday morning dawned, and I was ready. Next came a yellow cake with chocolate frosting (always a classic) and a red velvet cake, also undressed because really, we had whipping cream and strawberries left.

I’m getting to consider most frostings extraneous. Can’t tell whether it’s old age or just a natural evolution of my aesthetics.

In any case, we ate a lot of cake. I realized between one bite and the next I had reached that wonderful stage of I’ve had enough cake, so I got to feel what that’s like. it was almost as sudden as burnout. One moment I was fine, wanting cake like a normal regular person. Then, all of a sudden, I became one of the ones who have had enough cake. It was magical. I don’t expect it to happen again–if it takes three cakes to get there, it’s a bit labor-intensive–but I’m glad I had the experience once.

So to speak.

The kids were all in on this experiment. I’m pretty sure they hit peak cake, too, by the way nothing except slivers of the red velvet survived the night.

So, for breakfast, despite being part of a magical siblinghood of Those Who Have Had Enough Cake, I had red velvet cake with my coffee.

I mean, I wouldn’t want it to go to waste, you know?

And I’ve found out something important. Even after that magical moment when you have Had Enough Cake, your enjoyment of cake is a renewable resource. I don’t know what I would have done should that have turned out to be not so.

Kind of sends a cold shiver up the back, doesn’t it.

But we’ve dodged that bullet on a Monday, and the dogs–who could not have much cake, since there was chocolate in a majority of it–need walking. Just as soon as I finish my coffee.

And maybe just the tiniest remaining sliver.

Of… yes.

Of cake.

Happy Monday.

Forgetting Shoes

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There was something in my shoe. I could feel it digging into my right heel like a pea through several princess-stacked mattresses. But I needed coffee before I could sort that out, so I put together the Moka pot and was standing there waiting, thinking about nothing very much in particular–

Huh? Oh, yes, I mean, I’m always thinking about something, the brain never stops while I’m even faintly conscious. (This, I suspect, is part of the foundation of my insomnia.) So I suppose, if I were to be absolutely honest, I was thinking about Richard Armitage as Thornton in a very well-laundered cravat.

Look, one takes one’s pleasures where one finds them, and that man has a lovely nose.

Anyway, I stood there waiting for coffee before it occurred to me, quite naturally, that the thing in my shoe was a problem I could conceivably solve without the assistance of caffeine.

And, as I sometimes do when a thought strikes me, I took immediate action and almost fell over. I banged my hip a good one on the oven door and my temple narrowly missed a counter-corner.

That isn’t even the funny part, although my aggrieved, uncaffeinated swearing was probably hilarious if anyone’d been in range to see the whole thing. The real joke was, there was absolutely nothing in my damn shoe.

A little while later, retreated to my office to drink the finally arrived sweet sweet java, I had the bright idea of tying said shoes in order to avoid further high-speed applications of gravity ending in deceleration trauma to my poor body. Again, I embarked suddenly upon the course that seemed best to me, forgetting one crucial factor.

That factor was Boxnoggin, who no doubt heard my office chair squeak in the particular way that means tying shoes, and of course tying shoes is a chore he feels requires his supervision, close coordination, and most ardent attempts to aid me in. Which meant he scurried into the office at high speed, nose-punched me in the eye, tried to eat my tied shoe, and sat on my untied one–with my foot still in it, naturally–in order to “help” me to the utmost of his ability.

So that is why I’m sitting here with my coffee, my hip aching and my eye watering, one shoe tied properly and the other left to its own devices while I blink at a glowing screen and every once in a while mutter, “Don’t forget your shoes, Lili.”

Of course I will forget. I will, I am certain, be halfway down the hall with both dogs dancing around me and eager for walkies (because after the coffee and the tooth-brushing, it is WALKIES TIME, and may the gods help those who interfere with the habits of dogs) and it will be a miracle if someone does not step upon untied laces and topple me like a certain clay-footed statue.

I’d blame 2020 but I’m certain this is just Tuesday being Tuesday. I never got the hang of Tuesdays, or indeed any day of the week, and there are three scenes to write in The Black God’s Heart before I can count the zero of Book One done.

I might even get there today, if I can just tie my bloody shoes.

Wish me luck.