Chalk Tangle

Since it’s summer, I can use one of the running routes that goes through an elementary school. I vary my routes constantly, on the principle that my body will respond to exercise better if it doesn’t get bored and (more importantly) anyone watching me won’t be able to tell which route I’m going to choose when–elementary safety for a woman in this society, even one with a faithful canine guard literally attached to her hip.

Anyway, since school let out, I’ve been watching this wall gather more and more chalk. It seems a gentle way to give a message to the world: “Unicorns!”, “Confidence is Power”, “Love is Wealth”, “Valerie was here”.

It makes me happy, so the last time I went by, I had to stop in the middle of the run and take a snap. Miss B, confused, kept pulling at the leash around my waist, so if it’s a bit blurry, my apologies. But you get the idea.

Unicorns, indeed.

Said Often

So Odd Trundles had a nightmare last night, and peed his bed. This doesn’t happen as frequently as you’d think, but it does mean I’m up early, his bedding is in the wash, and I have soaped a dog’s ass and undercarriage before 8am. It’s a good thing all my commitments for the day were suddenly changed to afternoon during the span of a half-hour yesterday.

If I can just get through this week without combusting from sheer tension, I’ll call it a win.

So. My office is full of the reek of just-washed Trundles, but at least the window is open. A plumber is coming by this afternoon to fix the shutoff valve and maybe, if he got authorization from the home warranty folks, to install the new dishwasher and take the old one away. I have each scenario planned for–just the valve fixed, the valve fixed but the dishwasher electrical somehow borked, the valve fixed and the new dishwasher installed but the old one not carted off, and the best of all possible worlds, the valve fixed, new dishwasher installed AND old one carted away. Anything will represent a step forward, so I’m pretty Zen about the whole deal. It’s arrived at the point of absurd hilarity, so I can relax now.

The other commitment this afternoon is offering moral support during a friend’s doctor visit. I can’t plan for any of the scenarios on that one. For one thing, nothing is inside my control there except showing up on time and being supportive. For another, there’s just too much we don’t know yet. Today should at least give us more information. Aggressive treatment options are already scheduled for the next few weeks, so we’ll see how it turns out.

I say that a lot. Just this past weekend, I was in the car with the Little Prince. I have this habit of prepping the kids when we’re in the car. When they were younger, everything went easier if they knew what to expect, and the car was the last-minute place for answering questions and taking them through processes. I guess I haven’t gotten out of the habit, because I started telling the Prince what we were looking for and as a bonus, answering his questions about the then-latest bits of the dishwasher saga.

“…we’ll see what happens,” I finished.

He laughed. “You say that every time we’re in the car.”

I said it again at dinner, and since then, I’ve noticed whenever it leaves my mouth. The kids are sixteen and twenty now; I suppose decades of parenting have left me with a few habits they might find a little annoying. Both of them tell me the prep sessions are comforting no matter how old they get. Plus, they’ve absorbed “plan for what we can and relax about the rest” as a Life Maxim, which is hardly the worst way to look at situations.

It’s busy, but so far I’m coping. Especially since work is going relatively smoothly, though I had to take some time off yesterday to think about ceremonial leather armor, mercury poisoning, and different diseases I can give this particular Emperor that will have the effects I want on him and the story. I need his decline to be fairly rapid since we’re in the last third of the book, and the coronation is the next-to-last thing that happens before number one of the trilogy reaches a natural resting place.

But…yeah. We’ll see what happens.

*winks, vanishes in a cloud of smoke*

Love in Baking

When you’ve had a rough week, and your no-longer-a-teenager-this-year child knows it and uses her day off to clean the kitchen and make a pesto braid, because she wanted to try the recipe and she knows you love pesto…

…yeah, like that. Every bite was love.

I love my kids.

Past High School

It’s just not a proper holiday until a group of the Princess’s friends stays overnight, giggling in the kitchen and baking sugar-laden treats. Girls who made it through high school together, now young women–if course, the only ones who still come by are the ones who have left high school firmly behind. So few people actually make that decision, it’s good to see a high proportion of the Princess’s chosen companions have.

Speaking of people who never evolved past high school…well, a particular hatemonger is suing the publisher who (unwisely) paid him a very large advance for his screed, then decided they couldn’t publish it after a (politically) conservative editor–I mention the politics for obvious reasons–had to go through and actually read the damn thing. The best thing about this is the editor’s comments in Track Changes.

And people wonder why editors drink. *shakes head*

Anyway, the idiot hatemonger is now suing the unwise publisher, and a consequence of this is the entire manuscript plus comments is a public court exhibit now. Publishing Twitter is munching popcorn and watching the flames. The only thing marring this delicious serving of cold karma is the fact that for what the unwise publisher paid (and forfeited) in advance, they could have given advances for ten real books. (At LEAST ten.) I know better than to think a giant corporation has learned its lesson, and am sad for the books we won’t get to read because an entitled, hate-filled jackass hovered up resources that could have gotten them published.

And now I’m out the door for a run. I’m almost at the point where I don’t want 2017 to end, because last time I was looking forward to the ending of a year (2016) the one following it turned out to be an even worse shitshow.

Over and out.

Happy Yule

Happy Yule, everyone! The house is quiet, since the dogs have plundered their puzzle feeders and are now exhausted by such demanding mental work. Miss B’s in for a run with me as soon as I finish this post, though, which means she’ll be doubly tired.

This morning there was freezing fog, it’s bound to be slick out there. The longest night of the year is approaching. I used to hold vigil all night to greet the rebirth of the sun, but these days I’m too old and the candles on the hearth will do it for me. When the Princess comes home from work we’ll probably put the tree up, and the holiday baking will continue. Yesterday the Princess made this cake, and we were all in a sugar coma after dinner. The crackle-bits themselves stick to one’s teeth in a most fetching manner.

That’s about it for the holiday, I think. We’re very quiet, and it’s almost time for me to take a break from blogging until January. I’ve produced a lot of work this past year, and it irks me to think of how many more stories I could have told if the world wasn’t such a trashfire right now. I suppose I’m addicted to hope, I cannot stop practicing it even in the face of this overwhelming evidence.

Anyway, it’s time to get out the door. May your solstice be happy, healthy, and full of all good things. May the sun return.

Too Quiet

Hear that?

Do you? No? Well, that’s it precisely.

It’s quiet.

Too quiet.

Even the squirrels are hushed.

The kids are back in school. That means, once again, there is silence and solitude during the day. Productivity will skyrocket–once I get over the persistent feeling that the quiet is too thick and something is wrong, wrong, wrong.

A great deal of creative work happens in tension, in-between. Wanting solitude and having to concentrate without it, or suddenly having the necessary solitude and being uncomfortable because you’re so used to blocking out distractions. It’s not quite that I pursue discomfort, it’s just that it makes me acutely aware of the writing process.

So today is for working on Season 3 of Roadtrip Z. The immune start to die from secondary causes, and survivors start banding together in larger groups. These two things are possibly related. Teasing out the implications of a zombie apocalypse is the closest to fun I’ve had in a while. Falling into that world will keep me occupied.

Still, every twenty minutes or so, I’ll be jolted by a sudden wave of something’s not right, what’s going on? It will take me a few seconds to think oh, right, school’s in again. The concomitant anxiety, even though low-grade, is fuel.

I can’t wait for the kids to come home.


It’s back to school time. The Little Prince (who is not so little, anymore, being fully as tall as me) has his schedule, his supplies, and today was the last piece of the puzzle–clothes. Schedule flexibility is a working writer’s friend–I can only imagine the zoo the stores must have been the last weekend day before OMG FIRST DAY OF EDUMACATION.

This year the Prince is in high school, and right glad to be out of middle school. Both he and the Princess firmly consider middle school the very worst, though I’ve cautioned the Prince not to decide until both are over. Still, I am hoping the thought that the worst is behind him will ease the transition.

So this week is about adjusting to school hours again, though I don’t have to drag my weary self from bed to drive him like I did for elementary. (Like, when his school actually BURNED DOWN, omg.) It’s bittersweet, the little markers of your kids growing up. Like the liberation that happens when you can say, “Get in the car and put on your seat belt,” and there’s no monkeying about with carseat, booster seat, or anything else. Just a check to make sure they’re buckled, and away you go.

This is the first year I won’t have to get up when the kids do at all. I’m not sure quite what to do with myself, really. Technically I suppose I could go back to my night-bird schedule, which is what my body’s really built for. I’m happiest when I resurrect a little after noon, settle to work around 2pm, and go to bed around 3am-ish. It’s been decades of working against my biorhythms, and I used to long for the day of freedom.

Unfortunately, the dogs are on a set schedule too. So…yeah. Probably not ever going to be able to sleep when my body really wants to.

So. Both kids have smartphones, and their own lives. After so many years of guarding every breath they take, it leaves one a bit at sea. The only help is that the process is gradual, it doesn’t hit you all at once. Or, after a long sea change, you look up and notice they’re…if not adult, then damn close, and the shape of the person they always were and the one they are going to become have gradually overlapped. Wonder of wonders, they actually seem to like hanging out with their mother, even when it’s not the obligatory evening dinner. That’s the best thing of all, when your children can stand you.

I’m sure I’ll cry on the first day of school. I always do. Don’t tell anyone, though. I have a reputation to maintain.