Buzzing Around

Summer vacation has officially begun for my daughter. For this next week, she will be home with me. Sean works from home. I need to write. My 6 year old needs stimulation. Yeah, the sanity level in this house has plummeted already and it's only Monday morning. If you're the praying sort, mention my name to your god. Don't mention that time in Belize. K? Thanks.Anyway, Book 2 has reached the half-way-to-word-goal mark of 40k words. *flexes muscles* I want to have it done by the end of the month. Not too much else going on right now. Saw the Avengers again (this time in Loki-licious 3D). Loved it even more. Had shwarma afterward. Getting my tattoo fixed next week. For those who don't know, a couple of days into healing, my Seal of Rassilon stuck to the shirt I was wearing while I slept. When I peeled off the shirt, I also took up a few layers of skin and ink. So, there are blotches on my tattoo where I don't have ink. Touch ups are next Tuesday.

OH! And I finally got to see Thor. You see, back when it came out Sean outright *lied* to me when he and the Guise Knights went to go see it. Then he tried to hide it. Now, I can't give him grief about it anymore as I've finally seen it. (Albeit on DVD.)... Oh who am I kidding, of course I can. I'll just do it less often. Maybe.

Anyway, I have to cut this one short, kids.

Be excellent to each other.

Revenge of the Mother

Nearly half my life ago... did I really just say that? Sylar's eyebrows, I can't be that old... Anyway, some time ago I was a teenager in living in Indiana. During the winters, my mother and I would hibernate for weekends. Usually this involved sitting on the couch wrapped in blankets eating various munchables and playing the board game Aggravation. It's similar to Trouble and it provided hours of bonding between my mother and I. For those hours a cease fire was called in our teen-angst-frazzled-parent battle of wills. Mom and I had this was wooden with divots drilled into it for the glass marbles we used as pawns. Rolls of 5 or more would end in a resonant, satisfying cllllllllack! as the marble slid over the board. For hours we would play this game. Then Monday would come back around and the cease fire would come to a crashing end. Usually this meant that I would just look at my mom with the derision only a "misunderstood anarchist hippy" 16 year old could muster and say, "You annoy me."

In 2008, flooding in southern Indiana meant that my mom lost just about everything. She moved out here with us, bringing the cats and what little she could salvage. One thing that didn't make it was that game. Imagine the joy on Christmas morning when Mom pulled out a cardboard version of the game she'd found on eBay. She and I introduced Sean and the kiddo to the game and when I took one of K's marbles with my own, I beamed with pride. "The cycle of mother-taking-daughter is now complete." The other day Sean, K and I played again and she managed to trap me and send my pawn back home. Well played, daughter mine. Well played. I can see that I must take off the gloves with this one.

I didn't realize the level of nostalgia, just how good those times with mom were, until Christmas Day. There were years where things between us were volatile, loud and crazy. During that same time when I would glare and say, "You annoy me," she'd be braiding my hair before band contests and watching from the stands. First face I found in any crowd.

When  I found out that I was going to have a daughter, I cringed. I worried if our relationship would be as rocky as the one I had with my mom. Mom, of course, was thrilled. And naturally she sat back and enjoyed as someone entered the world who would dish out to me what I gave to her. K and I have started the tradition of Aggravation.

Then yesterday...

...I went to pick up K from school and as we were walking home she asked me a question. When she didn't like the answer she just looked up at me with a look of angst, and said, "You annoy me."

I'm not kidding.

I laughed. I laughed so hard that I cried then hugged her. The cycle continues, doesn't it?

Score One For the Home Team

So it's Monday, and while this is normally a lamentable occurrence I can't help but feel full of awesome today. As of today I will not be paying AETNA for health insurance anymore. To quote Portal, "This was a triumph." I've been dealing with their shit for years and now I'm free. Not only that--I am free of Chase! I paid off my credit card and severed ties with them. *happy dance* And--AND!--the Indianapolis Colts finally won a game! The world is a weird place right now, isn't it? The Iraq War is officially over. Troops are coming home. Another lunatic dictator is dead. There are beginnings and endings that are positive and negative all around. For now, fuck the negative, let's talk about some fun shit that's happening!

Christmas is coming and with it are the cookies and mugs of hot chocolate or chai and all the other fattening indulgences. It's also turning pretty damn cold here in the Valley of the Sun. Walking my daughter to school the other day we could see our breath. She's six and therefore amused by this. Me? I'm a wuss and I shivered in my multiple layers. My kiddo is freaking awesome. I know I'm biased, but there's been a lot of supporting evidence of late.

Last week we were walking around and looking at Christmas lights when she just stopped and looked at the sky. "I can hear the stars twinkling," she said. I melted. This is the same kid who told me that clouds probably taste like the sky and the sky tastes like strawberries. I love her mind and its synaesthesiac tendencies.

Also, K's class had a Christmas presentation Friday night. There was a spectacular display of off-key singing and then we were treated to cookies. The kids also did presentations on how Christmas is celebrated around the world. K's group did Mexico. She told me about a tradition involving a doll of baby Jesus being baked in a cake. I asked her if her teachers had told her anything else about Baby Jesus. She informed me that he's a Baby. His name is Jesus and he lives in Mexico. Weeeelllll, okay. At least I know there's no indoctrination going on. (Before you freak out that my daughter doesn't know who Jesus is, know this: Our family is very diverse and we want K to grow up with equal knowledge of as many paths as we can give her. We have told her about Christianity in a very loose, kid-friendly way, but haven't gone into the Jesus/Trinity/Crucifixion/SIN thing. I did explain to her that the Baby Jesus of Christmas fame does not, in fact, live in Mexico but was born in Bethlehem over in the Middle East.)

Saturday we took the kiddo to IKEA for her big present: A new bed. Dude, I'm so freaking jealous. Sean and I spent hours putting this thing together. There was some small amount of cursing, admittedly, but now that it's done it is a thing of epic cool. I want one for me. It's a reversible bed. Seriously, it can be a low bed with a canopy OR you can flip it over so that it's a small loft. We got a little bed tent to go over it that looks like a star field. Why can't grown ups have cool stuff like this, too?

The kiddo will be out of school for Winter Break from Wednesday through the end of the year, so writing time (both fiction and blogging) will be at a premium. I'm so excited, though. Family time this weekend and various gatherings...some of my friends are getting the most amazing gifts of seeing children who've been away at Basic Training. Others are welcoming home their father as he comes home from his third (or fourth?) tour of duty. There are many tables I know that will have an empty space...mine included. But we're still here. Still kicking and surviving and laughing through all the craziness going on.

And that's all you can do, right? Keep laughing. Keep hold of your family. And listen to the stars twinkle.

And the Daddy Tomato Said...


So, that's what this post is about. Or rather catch-up. The past few months have been insane, this past 30 days being really difficult. I can't say things are getting back to normal. Nothing will ever be "normal" again because the world is irrevocably different now. But things are settling into a new version of normal.

Monday I started the rough draft for my fourth novel, working title Wednesday's Child. This is Book 2 in my "Etudes in C#" series. Book 2 is coming along. I've gotten the first chapter out and I'm not beating myself about the head and shoulders saying, "This sucks!" So, I must be doing something right?

Another thing keeping me busy lately is Tribe Ohana. As some of you know this is a "pet project" of mine. A group of people hellbent on helping each other through life. We support people, not businesses or factions or whatever. People.  Well, we have an official website now! Please go check it out and say hi.

What else...what else... kiddo's tooth fell out. house has been Christmas-ified. OH! I get to tell Aetna to take a fucking hike next month! Woot! What else... uh... yeah. Not sure I've got anything to report other than silly stories about my kid and random people on the bus, or rambling about how a complete stranger began telling me how I could self-publish immediately after I told him I was a writer.

How are you? Let's catch up.

Where To Start?

It's the first day of school! My daughter K went off to first grade today. With a very quiet house, I now have the mental capacity to sit down and hear my own thoughts. Kinda eerie.So, I know I haven't posted much here in a couple of weeks. Here's why. LIFE. As I said, my kiddo started school. I wanted to make our last week of summer vacation cool and full of "Just-us-Time". The Interwebz take a back seat to the munchkin. Ergo - no bloggery from the Wahine for a while. What else is going on in the world of me? Back in the query saddle again. I've been firing off missives to interesting agents for the past few weeks. Rejections aren't piling up, but the day isn't over yet. *wink* Still waiting to hear back on a few submissions that are out there. Onward and ever upward...and all that jazz.

Grandma is doing okay. As you may know, late last month we thought that Grandma wouldn't be with us for much longer. Thanks to some family donations and a lot of help from friends, I was able to hope a plane and spend most of a week in Indiana. I spent a lot of precious time with Grandma. She is doing a bit better when last I heard. She is staying at her own place. Still has these odd spells, though, where she feels faint and shakes and hurts all over. The doctor thinks he may know what's going on, so we'll see what happens.

Speaking of Indiana.... you probably heard/saw the news about the stage collapsing at the Indiana State Fair. When I heard about it, I freaked out a bit. It's my old stomping ground. Most of my family and several friends still live in the Hoosier state and some of them have the misfortune of being fans of country music. Some of them were at the Sugarland concert. As far as I know, no one I know was physically harmed at the accident. However, a guy I used to drum with in college was there and ended up being part of the recovery before emergency crews got there. He helped pull rubble off of a woman's body...and now he's dealing with the sucky part of being a hero - trying to unsee certain things. So yeah, even though the incident itself is over and in clean up...please keep people like my friend in your thoughts.

I have to say that it's been rough not writing fiction for the past six weeks or so. Having K home just made that really difficult. Now that she's at school and I have time to devote to fiction, I'm overwhelmed with ideas. I've got a few shorts that I started back in June that need some attention. I want to edit some of the work I've done and submit that to a couple of magazines... and I've got novels I want to get to work on.  Time to crank up Pandora and get to work.

What about you? What's going on in your world?