Thursday, December 20, 2012

Baking Lesson

Middle Minion came over to do some holiday baking. Now Middle Minion’s idea of baking involves things that come in a package and all you need to do is remove the plastic cover from the chicken and poke holes in the part covering the brownie.

He wanted to make chocolate chip cookies, rice crispy treats, “and maybe some fudge.” Yeah, I’m all over that. Yay.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I loathe baking. I’m not good at it. I am easily frustrated when I’m working from the recipe and all of a sudden I discover I was supposed to be doing things in separate bowls about three steps ago. Recipes are not written for lazy cooks. Personally, I’d like important stuff written right above the list of ingredients.

“Get two bowls, big and small, because you’ll be mixing the dry stuff in the small bowl and the wet ingredients in the large bowl.” This is apparently done for no other reason than increasing the pile of dirty dishes exponentially. Yes, yes, I’m sure there is a valid reason for this other than the misuse of our cleaning resources, and Tam would be happy to explain them, but not to me because the last time she tried, she got mad when I stuck my fingers in my ears and kept saying, “la la la la, I can’t HEEEEAAARRRR you.”

So, it remains a mystery, and shall continue to be so because who cares?

Back to the kitchen. It took me two days to gear up to the big event. I griped and groused and carried on for quite some time, then got down to hauling all the crap out to make cookies. These were going to be regular cookies because there was no way I was going to attempt non-gluten cookies. No. Way.

I called my son to the kitchen, spoke to him the words “here’s the recipe. Here are the bowls. Make cookies.” I stayed close in case he needed help because I’m not THAT heartless, and wow, did he need help. His idea of measuring flour involved not stirring it first, not leveling it off because the measuring cup wasn’t full. There was fussing and squawking and a quick “do over.” Then he added the rest of the dry ingredients and we started on the not-dry ingredients (although, and he had a very valid point, sugar IS a dry ingredient, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying over my finger and me saying la la la la, I can’t hear yooooou”).

Then he got out the vanilla. We get a very high quality vanilla, so we measure it over the bowl so we waste nothing. He measured it and I said, “Ok, add it.” “Here?” he asked. “Yes, just dump it in.” So he did. He dumped it into the bowl with the flour.
“ACK! NO!”
“But you said--”
“I know, I know, my mistake. Don’t worry, it will be fine,” I promised.

I stuck the hand mixer into the wet ingredients in order to fluff the butter and sugar. The butter was really hard; I had just pulled it from the fridge, so it wasn’t easy. It took a long time to mix and there were several pieces of butter flying about the bowl and onto the front of Middle Minion’s shirt. Despite the difficulty I managed to get it done and we were able to add the dry ingredients.

He watched carefully as the dough thickened and he worried that it wasn’t looking right. But I picked up a small piece and pinched it to show him it was holding together just fine and it was now time to add the chocolate chips. The package was dumped into the dough and I handed my son a wooden spoon. “Stir it up, boy.”

And he did. And, according to him, it was good. It was so good, he took another sample. And another. “You do realize you’ll need to bake some of these, right?” “Oops.” He decided he preferred to make the pan cookie variety because it’s not such a pain in the ass. He spread the dough (the very sticky dough because I forgot to spray his hands with oil first) and we popped it into the oven.

Despite them being slightly burnt, he assured us they tasted great. We sat around for a bit, mulling over what else he wanted to make, when he decided he wanted to make more cookies. “Only this time,” he said, “I want to do it myself.”
“Ok,” I said with more than a little trepidation coloring my voice. “Let me know if you need any help.”
“I will,” he said. Moments later, we could hear the sounds of someone doing interesting things in the kitchen. Things like; swearing, grousing about something he needed being in the sink, cabinet doors and drawers being opened and closed while the incantation for finding things was uttered over and over.

“How’s it going?” I asked as I worked up the courage to see for myself.
“Great,” he answered, “I’m almost done.”
I walked into the kitchen just as he was about to put mixer to creation. Only the novice baker had added the chips with the dry ingredients. Granted, I could have just told him to use the wooden spoon (the one that was still in the sink waiting to be washed), but instead I said, “Dude, no. You added the chips at the wrong time.”
“But they’re dry, so I added them with the dry ingredients.”
“Is that how we did it the first time?”
He thought for a minute. “No?”
“I’ll show you why we don’t add them now. Give me the mixer.”

Ping! Ticka-ticka Whack! Thup (which was followed by an “ow!”) Shrapnel, people, chocolate chip shrapnel is what we had. Those damn chips went flying EVERYWHERE. Lesson learned, and I laughed my ass off.

The cookies were again proclaimed excellent and less burnt. I will admit to being fully proud of my son for taking on the challenge of baking cookies.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

November, a.k.a. The Month That Kicked My...

November, 2012 will herein be known as the month that pretty much kicked my ass under a bus. But, as with all such activities, having your ass handed to you after it has been kicked and run over by mass transit has a silver lining. Lessons have been learned.

Important ones, too. May I? Thanks.

1. NaNoWriMo is important, but not THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ON THE PLANET DURING THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER. There. I said it. And? I meant it! In the past, November has been a favorite month for many reasons, the least of which had become family gatherings for a major American holiday. For me, November was my writing month. My ex (the nice, but kind of clueless guy) would give me November to write without guilt (except for the holiday, but I managed to get my word count in between basting the turkey and chilling the jello. But it was a struggle and for the rest of the year, writing was something I’d have to bargain for or suffer extreme guilt.

Now that Tam and I are together, I get to write with her blessing, encouragement, and occasionally insistence. November is now a month where I can start fiddling around with a new idea of a story (if I want), or take a break from editing The Chronicles (if I want), or spend time with my family and not worry that I won’t get my first draft finished by the end of the month. I loved having my kids over for the holiday. Future Novembers, there is hope!

2. Family: a group of people bonded together through biology and/or love, the members of which can, and will upon occasion, make ridiculous choices that can impact the ENTIRE DAMN GROUP IN REALLY STUPID WAYS. Honestly. Adult children can turn you from a simple eccentric dyke into a whirling maniac of the emotionally upheaved. Seriously children, it was bad enough when you pitched the tantrums as toddlers or had dramatic hissy fits as teens. With one exception you’re all in your twenties (almost thirties)… THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ACTING LIKE THAT, YOU NINCOMPOOPS. Save the drama for the movies. Your mommas have reached an accord and we have decided we are sick of it.

3. Parents. What the hell? My mother ordered three copies of my book. She’s not read my book, but she wanted a copy for herself and two copies to give away. She doesn’t even read my blog because she does not have a computer. When I called to see if she got the books, she said she was already into the third chapter. She said she was impressed at how good it is. Then? Then she told me she was surprised as how good it is.

She was surprised. I…just… Thanks Mom.

4. We have a new fireplace and it is wonderful. The light, the heat, the joy of sitting in short sleeves and not freezing in the house in NOVEMBER has been wonderful. We also have a way to get rid of all the wood that we’ve collected over the years while trimming the various trees and stuff in the yard. Yay! Once it has seasoned for a year, it will turn into heat. I like it. In the mean time, we must look for wood to burn… and split…

5. Technology still hates me with a fiery red passion. I needed to update my old phone. It was refusing to do certain things. Important things. Things like texting and making calls being two of them (but only sometimes), and considering that’s pretty much all I use my phone for, that rendered it pretty much useless as anything but a timepiece.

Enter new phone: It’s a smart phone and is connected to the internet all the time. Oh, jeeze. I can’t… it just…

My old phones (all of them with the capability) would link up to my bluetooth enabled vehicle without so much as a whimper of protest, but not this one. This “smartest phone I’ve ever owned” gave me no clue. I sat in my car on several occasions and attempted to introduce the two, but there was no magic. No connection. My car would sit there muttering the word “searching” and my phone would just stare into space thinking big thoughts about anything but pairing with my damn car.

Me? I’d sit there, waving the phone in front of the dashboard of the car hoping they’d see each other and go, “Oh, yeah! Hi. Let’s be friends.” The instruction manual for the phone was no better. They kept saying I needed to enter the code and tap “ok.” I tried that. It didn’t work. I was doomed to have to shout at my phone while it was on speaker if I wanted to make legal calls while driving.

Semi-legal calls, because I’d have to dial while stopped. Ugh.

Anyway, after work one day, I had to sit and wait for the parking lot to clear, so I attempted to make the connection again. This time, while it was busy ignoring the car, I tapped an icon and behold! A keypad popped up, and while there was no “ok” to tap, there was an “enter” button. I had six seconds to do as instructed or start the process all over again. Tapping in the code, I hit enter at 4 seconds and at 5 seconds, my car announced that they were paired! I married my car and phone with one second to spare! I celebrated by calling Tam.

November… let’s call it a draw and move along because December is looking pretty decent so far!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

NaNo Break, Update, and Other Stuff

So, after my last post, I was able to climb off my ledge (after some serious self-guided therapy, an apology, and some other stuff involving chocolate and a quiet evening alone with my sweetie), I got back on the NaNoWriMo bicycle and picked up the story. It’s too late for me to finish, as I have no desire to write over 10,000 words a day for the last few days of the month.

However (and this is huge, folks, HUGE) I am ok with that.

No, seriously, I really am. This will be the first year I’ve not made it to the finish line with a full contingent of words, but considering I’ve managed to do it for the past six years (or more, I don’t remember), having a low year is fine. There were other things happening that needed that creative energy, so I let it go.

Damn, I can be such a grown up at times.


Tam and I bit the bullet and bought a fireplace insert (although “insert” is used rather loosely here). When we were looking around, I said it was imperative that we find one that we can cook on when the power goes out. The last big storm we had where we lost power for five days was interesting. We have a fireplace, but it is one of those old ones where most of the heat goes up the chimney and keeping the damn thing going is a challenge. Especially when all the wood is soaking wet or frozen solid. Or both. We didn’t dare leave the house to seek warmth, coffee, food, or recharging of electronic equipment, as we’d have to attempt to start the fire all over again upon our return.

I think that contributed a lot to the emotional meltdown that occurred during the ordeal. Granted, it was only five days, but five days of hotdog flambé, bacon flambé, toast flambé, coffee flambé (yes, I caught the damn coffee pot on fire. There was bacon grease involved. It was awesome), and beans flambé, it was decided that a fireplace insert was necessary, and it had to have a cooktop. Being able to leave the house, even for a little while just to get outside for something other than another armload of wood, probably would have helped raise our moral.

So would hot water for cleaning up, coffee without ashes, and food that you didn’t have to snuff out before eating. We chose a unit that sits in front of the fireplace, so it has a rather substantial cooking surface. The firebox isn’t huge, but it burns so well that it doesn’t need to be the size of a Buick LaSalle. Plus it has a blower (and there’s a spectacular joke surrounding that… I’ll you in a minute), and the blower has an automatic setting, and even if you don’t have power, because it sits out of the fireplace itself, the place can be warmed with radiant heat! Woo-hoo!

Also, the warmth has done wonders for the winter blues my poor darling suffers through each dark season. We’re both considerably more chipper now that we’re actually warm.

Of course, my only regret in spending that much money is that we’ll probably only be around for another two or three years to enjoy it. After that, we’ll be moving… but that’s a story that still has to wait.

So, the blower story… We’d been talking to Tam’s mom about the fireplace insert and she was always calling with advice or questions. One day we’d gone out to her place for some plums and she came running from the house telling us that her brother had told her to tell us that we HAVE to get a blower for the insert.

The minute someone tells me I HAVE to do something, I’m all about dragging my heels and doing pretty much the polar opposite. Oppositional Defiance, anyone? Anyway, I told her what we were looking for and I explained that I didn’t want one that relies on a blower for the heat because in the event of a power outage, I still wanted heat! Besides, the damn things are noisy.

That night, Tam and I were sitting at home when I said, “Your mom couldn’t understand why I didn’t want a blower.”
My darling stopped what she was doing and gave me a look. Then I realized how what I just said must have sounded with all the words kind of scrunched together.
“Ok, that sounded bad. You know with the insert. Ooh fuck it.”
“So…what reason did you give her?”
“Because of the noise.”


Black Friday brought us to the annual sock raid at a local department store. Spawn and I try to go every year for socks and a few gifts. Tam joined us and while we were wandering around, I happened to find one of those memory foam mattresses (the inexpensive kind that come in a box) and it was on sale for 50% off. We’ve been needing a new mattress as the old one was trying to kill us. So I bought it.

Wow, that memory foam stuff is HOT, and when you’re menopausal, it’s kind of uncomfortable. But, I’m not quite as stiff and sore in the mornings as I have been, so I’ll deal with it.


On that note, I’ll leave you with a bit of Peace on Earth. Courtesy of Zoe and L.B.C.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Day the Writing Stopped

It was, to put it mildly, a week from hell. Turbulence caused by upheaval in the lives of a few offspring derailed our plans, screwing up a birthday weekend, writing time, NaNoWriMo, and just life in general.

Mind you, I do not begrudge offspring needing a parental shoulder to cry on as long as big-kid underwear is put on as quickly as possible. Malingering angst doesn’t do anyone any good. Trust me. Been there, done that, burned the fucking t-shirt.

But when someone begins to drag other family members into the fray by texting things that shouldn’t be texted, and sending me tacky private messages that run the gamut of paranoia to self-pity, well that’s when I take off the gloves and start slapping right back. It might have been fine had I not been told to stop before I’d said my peace, but instead of letting that idiot know exactly how unimpressed I was with her over-the-top dramatics, I acquiesced and left the last word with the undeserving bitch.

I was not allowed to vent my anger over this to anyone and every time I brought it up, the subject would be changed. I couldn’t explain that I felt like I was the only one who was willing to tell the “Bitch Behind the Bother” exactly what I thought of her. Everyone else was willing to walk on eggshells and just “let it go.”

“Let it go” so it can continue and everyone can complain about how awful it is. The injustice rankled to the point where I simply gave up. I gave up feeling. I gave up caring. And I gave up writing.

Not because I wanted to, but because I couldn’t do it. When I write, I visualize the scene in my head, 3-D and full color. I do not interact with the characters, I just write what I see and hear. It unfolds and plays out, and I write it. But after the debacle, I could no longer see any stories in color. In fact, they appeared to me as stone; unmoving, cold, totally lifeless. My writing was broken. I’ve had writer’s block before, but it never felt or looked anything like that. The Gorgon had cast her eyes upon my writing and turned it to stone.

Tam was upset when I told her.

I was upset. In fact, I was so upset I came unhinged. My love and I were sitting alone at home when I brought up the subject once again. She tried to change the conversation but I stopped her. “I need to say this,” I said. “I need to let it out, but I need someone to hear me. I need you to listen. Please.”

My beloved nodded and let me talk. She let me vent my anger (none of which was directed at her), cry my eyes out, scream and yell until my voice was gone. She did not interrupt. She did not try to comfort me mid rant and tell me it was going to be ok. She let me go on and on about how much I hated the young woman who had ignited the fire in our lives. She did not try to tell me hating was bad. She did not try to defend anyone. She let me unload my pain right there in our living room.

There was a lot behind that pain that wasn’t attached to the latest offspring catastrophe; there was a lot of frustration about my job pushing that vitriolic stream of words from my mouth. The target bitch was acting exactly like my students do on a daily basis. I have to live with it at work without showing anger; but I see no reason I should have to deal with it that same way when it is directed at my family. So I let it loose.

After all that rage had spent itself, I felt drained. I felt lighter and in a little more control. I felt I’d been heard, and that was the most important aspect of the whole thing. My words were heard and acknowledged. I was supported, maybe not totally agreed with and I understand and accept that, but my pain was supported and that was the most soothing balm for my aching heart.

I still cannot write my NaNo project, nor can I edit, but there is hope. I am missing those characters and I long to spend time with them again. I do not hold false hope of finishing NaNo with another win this year, but I’m at peace with that thought.

I’m finally finding peace with myself…and I’m writing. It’s not fiction, it’s not my project, it’s not editing, but it is writing and it is more than I’ve been able to do in over a week. I am no longer focused (fixated?) on what I want to say to that worthless piece of vermin dander (although I am having a great time making up vicious names for her). I am working on letting it go.

And I’m reveling in the knowledge that she will not be allowed to darken my doorstep ever again, at least not until I have my say to her face.

Yeah, I’m good now.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

When Life Hands You Lemons…

Life handed us a bunch of lemons. And carrots. And potatoes, pears, bananas… the list goes on. Not all of it was actual produce, but I’m going to skip that part and just move on to the good stuff. The stuff that won’t make me cry, scream, rant, rave, or throw things. Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of that going on right now. Figures. Just when life begins to look up, someone has to come along and piss in the pool.

So, this year Tam and I decided to sign up with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where every week we get a box of fresh, local produce. When we were first looking at signing up, we weren’t sure what size box we should get: small, medium, large, or “sharing” but considering how often our offspring would show up looking hungry, we figured we could do the sharing size and everyone would be happy.

Of course, the minute we pick up our first massive box, everyone falls off the face of the earth and we have a LOT of veggies to try and eat. In one week. By ourselves.


All summer, we fetched our boxes, ate our fill and attempted to share, but had no takers. We made jams and jellies, pickles galore, and more salads than you can shake a stick at. It was all very tasty, but once work started up again, it became a royal pain the arse to figure out what to do with a head of cauliflower the size of a sports car, three potatoes, and a handful of rainbow carrots. Oh, and the zucchini. Let’s not forget the zucchini. That fucking zucchini…

Pickles, people, we made pickles. We pickled green beans, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, peppers (oh lord, that was intense!), garlic and even some onions. We froze more onions (forty pounds of them!), and made freezer slaw (YUM! Tangy purple goodness).

Now we’re drying things. Just tonight we put up seven pineapples, plenty of parsnips, a cadre of carrots, and some other oddball veggies. We’ve gone through 10 pounds of red-band bananas (sliced, dried, and devoured), pears, apples, and celery. We’ll do more of that as we finish off this last box.

Next I’ll be making pepper jelly. I have the lovely pepper juice/brine already cooked and canned, but no pectin has been added. It was an error in judgment for my first batch of pickled peppers, so I ended up with a LOT of very spicy syrup. No one told me that a) peppers shrink when cooked like that, and b) when you add jalapeno peppers to hot vinegar and sugar, without removing the seeds, you WILL drive every living creature from the house. Holy moly, that was some painful air we were breathing.

Anyway, I’ll tame some of the leftover brine with apple juice and make some damn fine pepper jelly that will make pork sing, ham hum, and chicken crow for joy. It’s amazing on crackers with cream cheese (or just about any cheese for that matter). I’ll be giving some of it away for holiday gifts, but I’ll be sure to keep enough for us.

Right now, we’re looking to get an insert for our fireplace. After last winter’s storm left us without power for five long, cold and very dark days, we decided we’d had enough and will have an insert with a cooktop installed before the really ugly weather hits. I’m really looking forward to that. Imagine, waking up to a warm house even when it’s cold outside. It will be awesome.

We’re also moving forward on our dream of owning the shop, but I’ve promised not to say anything more until we’ve made progress (which won’t happen until January).

NaNoWriMo comes up soon, and I’m all geared up and ready to go. It will mean no editing of the current manuscript, but I think a break will do me some good.

It’s a boring post, but I’m focusing on the positive. It’s better than sitting on the rooftop in the rain, throwing shit at people walking past the house. Not nearly as fun, but much safer.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

One of THOSE Posts…

This was going to be one of those typical posts, apologizing for being absent, shouting about our fabulous news, and mentioning a couple of funny and/or touching moments at work.

Not this time. Right now, that stuff is going to have to wait.

Right now, I need to vent, and I need to vent BIG TIME.

My daughter is in a relationship with someone I do not know very well. The first time we met, he did not leave me with a good impression. Quite the contrary, but I was willing to wipe the slate clean and give him another chance. She offered up excuses and said he apologized, so I let it go.

But I waited, and watched, and listened, and as I waited, I watched red flags pop up and I listened to all the alarm bells in my head go off, one after another.

My daughter is living with a man who is not divorced, but then, neither is she. They are both separated from their spouses and neither shows any intention of getting back with their respective spouse. Fine, I’m in no position to judge, nor do I care to. I am not without sin in that regard.

But my visits with my daughter are becoming fewer and farther between. There is always something that keeps her away from me, and that something is always him. He always has some reason that she can’t come visit, and when she’s here, he’s calling her. Sometimes multiple times. Now they’re talking about moving away to another state.

I’ve read enough Ann Rule to know where this could go.

This evening, I called her and she said there was a box she wanted to get. I could hear him in the background asking what box and that they didn’t have a place for it and I could tell he was getting agitated. She asked if I could store it in the garage for her, and I said she could, but could she come by on Monday to sort through it?

She asked him if she could use their van so he could drive himself to work and she could come visit me after I got home. He didn’t like it, so he said the two of them would be down after work.

Knowing it would be futile to protest his presence, I said that would be fine and our conversation was over. Did I mention that the evening before, we’d been on the phone and someone was playing with the extension? I don’t have an extension phone at my house, so it was happening at hers. When I mentioned it during the conversation, all of a sudden the sounds stopped.

Anyway, after our more recent conversation about her coming over to sort through the box, she called again and Tam answered the phone. She brought me the message that the box would be picked up by a friend going through town so my daughter and the bastard would not be coming to the house after all.

I have not seen my daughter in quite a while, thanks to my change in work hours. I liked it last school year when we could visit for 30 minutes every day after work. I miss her terribly. My annoyance at the change in plans made itself known and I called her right back (they have caller ID, so she answers it when my number comes up. He knows better).

“So, I don’t get to see my daughter on Monday? Why the hell not?” I asked her. I tried to sound like I was kidding around, but I don’t think she believed that for one moment. I could hear him in the background saying they were just “too poor” to put that much gas in the car to come to the house. Here’s where I call bullshit. They carpool, but she drops him off on her way to work, and she works in a school not far from my home. On more than one occasion, he has managed to get a ride to their place from a co-worker, but for some reason, that doesn’t work when she’s at my house.

I said I was very disappointed that we wouldn’t get to see each other and she suggested that we could visit if I picked her up and brought her here.

I have no problem with that. I’m even going to suggest she stay for dinner. The beauty of this arrangement? I call the shots as to when she goes home. I’ll take her home when we’re done visiting, not when he says we’re done visiting and since her cell phone isn’t working, he won’t be calling.

So, asshole, listen up: If you’re going to try and come between me and my daughter, then you’re going to run into a problem… me. You have one chance to prove my gut instincts about you are wrong and if you do, then I’ll play nice. Otherwise all bets are off and I’m calling on the Dragons. It’s a steep price to pay, but not when it comes to my children.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Survey Says...


Seriously, I cannot go to a store without being handed a receipt and a plea to "take the survey and give [them] all 10's, because anything less than 10 is failure," or the piles of emails I get asking me to take "five minutes" of MY time to fill out THEIR survey. And they all want 10's.


 Don't ask me to give you a 10 and tell me anything less is failure. That's total bullshit.


You know the old adage, "No one's perfect," right? Well, neither is any shopping experience I've ever had. Sometimes the music is too loud, or there are children running amok. Sometimes it's hard to find what I want, and harder still to find someone to help me. That doesn't mean my shopping experience was horrible, it just wasn't "perfect."

Perhaps my definition of "perfect" is different than theirs, because I've always thought "perfect" meant "without flaws." The friendly cashier may have been a pleasure to deal with in the checkout line, but that does not make a "perfect" shopping experience if I've had to shout over the in-store music or hunt through aisle after aisle because they've rearranged the damn store AGAIN and I can't find shit. That makes me cranky, and cranky means NOT PERFECT!

So, no, you will not get a 10. Sorry. If you have to beg for a "perfect" score, then you're already not doing something right.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The New Job

So… yeah… the new job. Wow.

Having worked in middle school Special Education for three years, I kind of figured I’d seen a good portion of what happens in the “Adaptive” education classes. Screaming fits, thrown objects, outbursts of eyebrow singeing proportions, and simply genuine out-of-control behavior. These were special needs kids who didn’t have a better way to communicate. I get that, I’ve had days when I envied their ability to just let it all hang out.

I changed diapers, hand fed breakfast and lunch, and attempted to coax some kind of academics out of my students. I liked it, but after too many lifts from a wheelchair, my shoulder had had enough and I had to shuffle off to a different program. HR said, “we have something at an elementary school, are you interested?” Sounded good to me. Smaller kids, no lifting 120 lbs from wheelchair to changing table.
“I’m in,” I said.
“Ok, your new assignment is in the AB room.”
“Wait, not special ed?”
“No, this is a new program.” She told me the name of the teacher I’d be working with and I jumped at it.
“Awesome! I’ve worked with him briefly before and he’s wonderful. Thanks.”

AB stands for Adaptive Behavior. That’s not what I call it, but we’ll go with the official title, m’kay?

Three days of school. That’s all we’ve had so far, three days. In that time I’ve had a student accuse me of being a female canine of low intelligence, remind me that my derriere is on the large side, insinuate that I perform incestuous acts with my maternal parent, and my favorite, informing me and the rest of the people in the room (including my new principal) that my female genitalia move rapidly in a strong breeze. Either that or when I walk, I’m not sure. It was hard to listen after the first part because laughing is not an appropriate response to such behavior from a student. All I could say was, “Ok, but you still have to do your math.”

But damn, it was funny. So, it either flaps in the wind or when I walk. I never realized it, but then my hearing is so damaged from the previous assignment that I probably just never noticed it.

Well, if the first three days are any indication of what I’m in for, it’s going to be an interesting year. I have a feeling that by the end of my time at this job, on my last day, if any student calls me “bitch,” I’ll probably just look at them and say, “That’s Ms. Bitch to you, kiddo.”

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saying Good-Bye to Summer

Damn. We’ve hit the last weekend of summer break and the new school year looms. Looms, I tell ya, looms. Looms like a big…looming thing. Looming… llloooommming.


Ever feel like you’ve been sidelined by the Universe, only to discover that things have been busy lining up for something unexpected and rather awesome? It’s kind of been like that round here. Let me ‘splain, m’kay?

As the new school year loomed, things started going a little sideways. I got a letter assigning me to a new school and I was delighted. To say I was ready to move on would be an understatement. Between the scars on my arms and the ones on my psyche, the thought of staying there one more year was more than I could handle.

Then I got the call saying there had been a change and I was going to go back to that classroom. I was devastated. After mulling it over, I decided the best thing for me to do was plead my case to HR and hope for the best.

Before I continue with my story, I’m going to tell you Tam’s story. Don’t worry, it will all come together, I promise.

Tam has been working for the district for as long as I have (maybe even longer, I don’t remember). Anyway, she’s frequently passed over for promotion because the woman who is in charge of her department does not like her. She makes no bones about it, ridiculing and harassing my partner on a fairly regular basis.

Last year, when Tam’s kitchen manager returned after a nearly year-long medical leave, Tam was forced from the kitchen she loved and shuffled off to a place managed by an idiot. An idiot who is a pet of the mean woman who doesn’t like Tam, an idiot who seems to enjoy getting people into trouble by talking behind their backs, even when what she’s saying isn’t true. Saying it was a rough year on my sweetie would be an understatement. It was a toxic environment.

Recently there was an opening for kitchen manager and Tam applied, feeling fairly optimistic about getting the promotion. After all, she had the seniority and the proven skills to do the job.

Not to sound like sour grapes, but she is pretty sure there was some cheating going on during the test. One of the applicants came in to the test ten minutes late, finished fifteen minutes later and left. The test was very hard and the other two in there took the entire hour with neither of them finishing. Both were familiar with the duties of kitchen manager, both had successfully managed kitchens in the regular managers absence, yet neither got the job. It went to the one who came in late, sat behind the proctor and away from the others, and finished early.

I don’t have to work in a kitchen to know that something smells fishy here.

Next on the list of things that are happening… we’re moving forward on the purchase of the shop. Our plan had been that we would get our loan and she would leave that horrible kitchen and go work the shop while I stayed back and continued to work at a steady job until the debts were paid down as much as possible. Two years is what we’d been thinking. I’d drive to the coast every other weekend to help out and see Tam during the school year, then spend more time there during the summer. It wouldn’t be easy, but it would be worth it.

On another note, my youngest still doesn’t have a job. He’s recently applied to be a housecleaner for a large franchise of maid service providers. Forgive me when I say, “NOOOOO!” He’s so desperate he’s willing to do this. I admire his desire to get a job, but, no… I’ve done that job before, I know what it’s like and I hated every damn minute of it.

I got a call telling me that I’m going back to the school where I started, a school where, despite some of the people there, was my favorite school. Elementary age kids. Of course, I’ll be in the “BD” classroom. BD stands for Behavior Disorder (although they’re calling it something else now, I just can’t remember what it is). It will be an interesting year. Fortunately, the teacher has been doing this type of class for years and I’m really looking forward to working with him. I think I can handle a couple years working there. It will be a nice change from working in a room where the teacher is still so new, she’s not sure how she wants to run the room.

Tam learned that a position for which she can transfer laterally opened up at HER old school, the one she loved best. She’s going to talk to someone about that on Tuesday when the district opens after the holiday. After we talked about it, she said she could certainly handle working another couple years there, no problem.

Which leaves us with who’s going to run the shop?

It looks like my son will have a job for a couple years.

Thank you, Universe. It’s been a long and very interesting climb up this hill.

Good-bye, summer. Hello future. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Entertaining Spiders

Lest you get the wrong impression and think I find spiders to be at all entertaining, I can assure you that is not the case. Not at all. Nope. No way. Rather, I find them to be creepy multi-legged monsters that have absolutely NO DAMN BUSINESS being IN my house.

Outside? Well, that’s a whole new ballgame, and one that I will just leave alone. At least for this post. 

Anyway, we’ve been mucking out the living room of Chez Chaos. It hasn’t been done since Tam moved in and was long overdue even before she got here. Lots of things had piled up in corners, on level surfaces, and shoved under furniture. Eddies of piled crafting supplies mingled with magazines and books on various subjects. Some of it was there on purpose, most of it wasn’t.

Lots of dust, animal fur, and pieces of daily living that just found their own little piece of paradise and stayed put, well out of the reach of a dust mop, broom, or duster. Mainly because dust mops, brooms, and dusters aren’t used with much regularity around here. We’re a little on the casual side when it comes to being tidy.

Ok, I’m a slob and she puts up with me. Happy now?

Back to the story.

We’d been cleaning and moving things around for a couple days and were enjoying a quiet evening of rest and internet when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but FUCKING SPIDER-ZILLA racing across the floor. It stopped at a barrier of cords used to power the vacuum cleaner and seemed to be confused. I’m not sure why, after all, it was large enough to macramé the cords into a lovely hanging basket for my fern. But there it sat long enough for me to announce the presence of such a creature. I believe my exact verbiage was “HOLY SHIT!” I jumped up, stuffed my feet halfway into my sandals and proceeded to entertain the beast (as well as Tam and Li’l Red) with the song and dance of my people.

It sounded a lot like, “AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!” stomp. Stomp-stomp! AAAAYYYYYEEEE!!! STOMP!STOMP!STOMP!!!!! and looked even more ridiculous.

The little huge bastard had the gall to RUN TOWARD ME, avoid my lightning-fast feet, and duck under the entertainment cabinet. I would have had better luck if I’d been wearing better shoes; shoes that did not have straps flapping around my ankles just begging some long-legged arachnid to grab on and take a jog up my leg.

Yes. Despite all my efforts the spider got away clean while it, and my family, had a good laugh at my expense. However, even though the monster had taken cover under the cabinet, we three humans spent the next several minutes sitting around with eyeballs the size of ostrich eggs. My cat, on the other hand just sniffed and turned away as if saying, “Silly human, THAT’S not the way to treat a snack.”

It was after we’d all had a chance to relax and return to our regularly-scheduled activities of doing very little, that I happened to glance over to the wall above the entertainment cabinet. Up near the ceiling was the dreaded beast, just chilling and waiting for an encore.

I had to oblige, but this time I used a prop. The vacuum with the long attachment was our big finish.

I think.

Because the next day, while Most Minor Minion was over, and after he’d heard the story, he came up to me and said, “Wow, there’s another monster in the living room.”
“If it’s on the couch, then that’s no monster, that’s Li’l Red.”
“No, this one’s on the floor near the vacuum hose. It’s really big, too.”
“The hose?”
“No, Mom, not the hose.”
“Is it alive?”
“The hose?”
“No, Son, not the hose.”
“Oh, the spider. Yes, it’s most definitely alive.”

I approached with caution to find a rather spectacular specimen that was either the same size or a slightly larger version of the one I danced for the previous evening, I couldn’t quite tell. It looked a little rumpled and I wondered if it had spent the night rummaging around in the dust and other room detritus in the canister. But I didn’t care. I turned on the vacuum and… and… oh, god… The spider was so large, I heard AND FELT it tumble up the hose and land in the belly of the machine. At least this time I think it’s really dead, with all that banging around it did on the way in.

Believe me when I say, “fuuuuuuuck, that was gross”

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Day on Drugs

I had to have an MRI the other day, but never fear, the good doctor prescribed a lovely anti-anxiety pill for me to take in order to keep me from freaking the hell out while stuffed like a 52 year-old sausage in a vibrating, hard plastic casing.

Seriously, it was so… I can’t… Ok… wait… deep breath…

They asked me what kind of music I wanted to hear. They asked me this after telling me that it was going to be a tight fit and then they strapped me down. All I can say is, “hell yeah, happy pills” because they’d have had to use duct tape and a baseball bat if I hadn’t been drugged.

So there I was, securely Velcroed to the table while trying to decide what I wanted to listen to besides the thrumming and bumping of la machine.
“Do you have any Jethro Tull?”
“Yes!” the lovely technician said, “But it’s at home.”
“Oh. Can you go get it?”
“No,” said the unlovely technician.
“Um, Enya?”

So, Orinoco Flow sashayed through my ears while they put me in the tube. It was a tight fit and I’m very thankful for the pill, considering the tube was so close to my face, I couldn’t focus on it.

When it was all said and done, and they were pulling me back out, my arm (the one they strapped in place) got caught on the lip of the machine and I wasn’t going anywhere.
“Um, can you move a little to your right?”
“Maybe. I know I could if I was listening to Jethro Tull.”
“You planning on staying in there forever?”
“I’m moving! I’m moving!”

I finally got out and sat up. I vaguely remember being happy. The technician handed me a plastic sack.
“Here’s your bra. You can put it back on right over here.”
“Nope. I’m gonna skip that part. Probably couldn’t do it anyway. Too complicated. I’ll just take it home like this.”
“Do you want a wheelchair?”
“Naw, I’m good, but I could use some directions, because I appear to have no idea where I am at the moment.”
“That’s part of my job,” said the helpful technician as she led me away. I remember a hallway, a door and some people. Tam was there to take me home, but first we had to find our way out. Apparently, I was ready to do some exploring. Tam was not. We passed the admission desk and I remember the woman saying, “Enjoy the rest of your medication!”
I assured her I was doing exactly that. There was laughter. Tam later said she told me to enjoy the rest of my VACATION!” Whatever.

Tam said I talked to everybody, waving and having a great time. We got to the car and I asked if she wanted me to drive. She said no. She also said I was having a hard time trying to figure out how to get into the car. Evidently I had the same difficulty getting out of the car once we got home. Something about my bra caught on my shoe.

There were people at the house, but I can only believe Tam when she tells me that I was visited by all three of my children. Then there was the part where I took the bird from her cage and fell asleep. Said bird promptly took to grooming me, walking all over me, picking at my ears, my hair, my shirt, squawking in my ear. Tam took a picture.

I don’t remember a thing.

Then my mother called while I was in a state of semi-consciousness. Something about a website “for the computer,” in case I didn’t know how the hell to get to a website. Now, I know I’m technologically impaired, and it is especially problematic when I’m drugged, but cut me some slack, woman, even stoned out of my gourd I know what a friggin’ website is and how to get to one. Sheesh.

There was another nap and a lot of slow moving. I don’t know when everybody left (although I do know Most Minor Minion took off the next day) and I have no idea what happened that evening, but I do know I survived my MRI.

And you know what? I have another pill for “just in case.” Just in case of what, I don’t know, but I guess that’s not important. Maybe I’ll use it on the day we sign our lives away for the shop.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


This week has been one for the therapist, let me tell you. It started out pretty normal, then Tam got sick. Really sick, like coughing up a lung, running a temp kind of sick. It was loverly. So very loverly. She’s such a delight when she’s sick. Calm, cool, quiet.

I’m going to hell for lying, aren’t I?

Anyway, while my darling was busy finding new and interesting ways to die, someone (and that would be me) had to do SOMETHING with all the stuff we’d bought to put up. We’ll start with the 20 or so pounds of plums for jelly (ok, maybe 20 lbs is a bit of an exaggeration, but I got 25 half-pints of plum… stuff (because I couldn’t find a recipe and it didn’t all set, so I’ll have to do it over, but I’m going to wait until winter when heating up the entire house doesn’t cause the floor to melt under my feet).

Oh, yes, that kind of week indeed.

Then there was the 40lb box of beans. 40. Pounds. Of. Beans.

Spawn came over and helped me put up 25 pints of dilly beans (oh, YUM!) yesterday, then I wrangled three more quarts of the dilled lovelies and one gallon bag for the freezer. After that was all done, Thing showed up and I chopped up three pounds of jalapeno peppers for a treat I call candied peppers (they’re like bread and butter pickles, only sweeter and much hotter). But I made a slight mistake and only got five pints out of it, so I used the sweet brine on some garlic and pearl onions. Then in a stroke of genius, I filled the last pints with the leftover (sweet, spicy, tangy, and delicious) brine which I will later (in the winter months) make pepper jelly. Let me tell you about pepper jelly, when it’s right, it’s amazing on cheese, chicken, veggies, old sneakers… you get the idea, it is some bad-ass stuff and I love it.

Anyway, I’ve been canning for the past three days in some of the hottest weather we’ve had all summer. And I’m loving it, except for the part where I’m too tired to edit.

But the other thing that’s been going on is this pain in my shoulder. I hurt myself at work and I’ve been going to occupational therapy for it. It’s not working. The doctor said I need an MRI. Doctor is a sadist because she doesn’t think the open MRI’s do a good enough job, so she wants me to go in for an enclosed MRI.

Not. Good.

This old dyke has some major issues with claustrophobia and simply thinking about being shoved headfirst into a long metal tube and closed in there for who-the-hell knows how long makes me panic. Doctor pulled the “nice” card and prescribed an anti-anxiety pill to take one hour before my appointment.

You know that part of my life where I’m in my kitchen and canning everything that doesn’t move? Guess who forgot to go get her happy pill? Cue the “crazy attack” where I send my sick wife to the drug store to pick it up for me because I cannot leave whatever I’m cooking to do it. Yay, she got it. If she hadn’t, it would have been difficult to get me into the tube.
“Ok, Karen, we’re going to roll you into the tube now. Oops! Put your arms down, please.”
“I can’t.”
“Yes you can, just put them down.”
“Fuck you. I’m not going in there without a pill.”
“You’re being one right now, Karen.”

Last, but certainly not least on my list of things to do sooner rather than later, is look into financing for our shop. After a lot of talking to the owner and discussions between ourselves, we’re going to do whatever it takes to get that shop and get the hell out of the jobs that are killing us. Somehow, I need to come up with a very large sum of money (which will mean a lien on the house again, but oh, well) then we’ll be free to move into a better phase of life, mainly where neither of us is beaten, pinched, scratched, spit on, bitten, choked, scorned by supervisors, cheated out of a promotion because a supervisor doesn’t like us, or the usual litany of crap on the job things that make people want to get on the rooftop with a slingshot and a large supply of turds and just cut loose.

It’s a dream and one that I think we’ll be realizing sooner than either of us thought. I just need to sell a few thousand copies of my book, and we’ll be there!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mt. Rainier

Tam and I are on vacation, which means we’ve gone to Oregon to visit my parents and then spent the rest of the time close to home because we have a lot to do around here. But sometimes getting away for just a day is a nice thing to be able to do.

We packed lunch and headed toward one of my favorite landmarks, Mt. Rainier. Tam was shocked to learn that I have never been to a place called Carbanado, nor do I recall ever going over “the bridge.” It is only an hour’s drive from home to “the bridge” so we decided to check it out.

Photographs do not do it justice. No matter how hard I tried, I could not capture the feeling of being so far above a river. It was beautiful. Scary as hell, but beautiful.

The river is that color because it is fed directly from glacial runoff, so there’s LOTS of silt in the water. It’s REALLY cold, too, in case you were wondering.

After that, we figured, what the hell, let’s go on up to the Carbon River ranger station and take a little bit of a hike or something. We ended up splurging on an annual pass to Mt. Rainier National Park, because a) it supports our national parks and b) OMG you guys! It’s so beautiful. And expensive. That pass paid for itself in one day, since it would have cost us sixty dollars to take our little hikes and the pass only cost us $30.

The things we saw…

The boardwalk was musical (not on purpose, but the cedar they used made lovely notes as we stepped on them) and the accompanying birdsong was perfect. It was so green and quiet that I wanted to stay there forever.

But we did leave, only to head up to a place called Mowich Lake. Up, being the operative word here, because by the time we got there, the elevation was over 4,000 feet. The sky was perfect blue and the deer flies were busy.

Mowich is also glacier fed, so the chill factor was even more intense than it was on the swift-flowing Carbon River. The water is perfectly clear and the shoreline is NOT broken up with private property and keep-out signs, but the trail is well marked and the part we were on was easy walking.

The road to Mowich, however, was less than awesome and there were a few times I nearly killed my poor little car swerving to avoid a pothole the size of a pickup truck. I wasn’t going fast, but it was hard to see the holes until you were nearly on them, plus I was slightly distracted by the scenery.

We’ve decided to make that pass pay for itself over and over again. We’ll be heading back up to the mountain a couple more times this season. We’re also going to super-splurge on an interagency pass, so we can hit ALL the parks in the state. Ok, maybe not ALL of them, but as many as we can fit into our vacation, days off, budget, and mood.

I’m excited.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vacation Notes

After leaving the house two hours later than we’d originally planned, we managed to get to my folks’ place at a decent hour. Typical for us, though. I say we’ll be hitting the road around six in the morning, and we can count on pulling out of the driveway at LEAST two hours later.

The trailer where we stay had been winterized by my mother, who is creative with ropes, a tarp, and heavy objects. Just when we thought we’d managed to free the tarp, we’d give it a yank only to discover another length of rope attached to something strange, like part of an old bed frame, an empty (but it wasn’t empty when she tied it there) water jug, some heavy unidentifiable farm equipment parts, and spare wheel from an old pickup truck.

Putting up the tent trailer in 90 degree weather is so much fun; it usually takes me two or three days to recover from the awesomeness that is involved.

But I found a percolator coffee pot in the basement, as well as the propane stove left behind by my cousin when he moved out. I collected my treasures and proceeded to delight my darling with non-instant coffee. Personally, I think it tastes like shit, but that’s because I have no idea how to make coffee on a propane stove. It’s very different.

We went to Ashland to have lunch at our favorite restaurant, then stop in at our favorite metaphysical store to ring the chakra bowls. Because parking is such a premium, they’re very sincere when they say “two-hour parking.” They will ticket your ass if you don’t move it in time, so I set the alarm on my new phone.

Two hours later, I am becoming increasingly annoyed by an irritating sound; a high-pitched ringing that just won’t stop. I can’t figure out where it is, but I keep wishing it would stop. We headed into our final shop and my mother asked how much time we had left. Imagine my horror to discover the noise was my phone alarm and I had no idea how to shut it the hell off. Most Minor Minion tried it, I tried it, and the guy behind the counter might have tried it if he hadn’t been laughing so hard he was almost in tears.

I don’t really know how it happened, but after ten minutes of constant ringing, the noise was stopped. To say I felt like a total derp would be an understatement.

My father is a passenger-seat driver. No matter what I’m doing, he’s going to make a comment, point out something obvious, or otherwise make it known that my abilities are falling far short of his expectations. He does the same thing to my mother and she tends to start shrieking at him, then the big argument will commence and things tend to get uncomfortable.

I, however, sass him. I threaten to break his pointer finger if he starts waving the damn thing around. Then he muttered something about the speed limit and that I was going a little too fast (I was coasting to charge the battery in my hybrid, so I was slowing down, thank you), and I threatened to get a squirt bottle and use it every time he got out of line. Then he started playing with the controls for the window. Mind you, they are a little confusing: if you press down too hard, the window goes all the way down, and if you pull up too hard, it goes all the way up. There is a way to get it exactly where you want it, but it takes a gentle touch, which is not something of which my father can boast.

Down window, up window, down window. “What the hell?” my father wondered.
“Don’t play with the window controls, Pop. That’s what you always told me when I was young.”
Up window, down window… “What are you doing?”
“I don’t know.” Up window.
I hit the window lock button, which flummoxed him even more. We rode in air-conditioned silence the last few blocks to the restaurant. When we got to the parking lot, the finger waving and advice giving commenced and I had to threaten to stop at the store and pick up a water bottle again.
“Pop, I actually know how to find good parking, and since I can use your card, we’re pretty much guaranteed a good spot.” I got the best one in the lot despite the great amount of pointing going on toward another spot one aisle over that wasn’t nearly as close.

As we helped him toward the restaurant, my mother said I was going too fast. Pop looked up at me and said, “My nickname is Creepy.”
“Yeah, Pop, but it has nothing to do with how slow you are.”
My mother thought that was hilarious.

Back at their place, we sat outside in the 90 degree weather while a warm wind coiled itself around us. The Earth is warm on our feet and the birds punctuate our conversation with their calls and songs. We stay out as long as possible, before being driven inside by the mosquitoes.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Road Trippin’

Ok my darlings, it’s that special time of year again when we load up the car and drive straight to hell. Also known as going to visit my parents.

We’re taking Most Minor Minion with us while Beans holds down the fort. This will be his first time house/critter sitting for us, so it should be interesting. He even offered to clean out our fridge. I’m not sure what the motive is behind that, but I wish him the best of luck. It’s been a while since anyone’s seen the back wall of the lighted compost bin, so I’m not sure what he might find. Hopefully it will be slow-moving and easily caught.

The pre-trip jitters/cranky stuff has hit both of us and I’m so thrilled. She’s in the kitchen ranting and crashing about over some lost peppercorns and I’m having a difficult time not getting distracted from what I’m supposed to be doing, which is packing and not writing a blog post about going on a trip. I’m also supposed to be doing laundry, which might be happening right now, but I’m not 100% sure I remembered to start the machine. My camera and computer, however, are ready to go.

As usual, I’ve over packed. It’s so strange: I can go to Ireland or Germany for two weeks and survive just fine with a small carry-on size bag. Two weeks. Far from home. We’re heading to my parents house, for one week, and my HUGE suitcase is bulging at the seams, and that doesn’t include the computer, the cameras, the chargers for all the electronic gee-gaws, my nook… Thankfully I don’t use the CPAP any more, because that was just one more bag to tote around.

I always say I’m not going to over pack the next time, but I always do. There’s the computer (I get to do some editing) the big camera because I’ve not taken it out for a while and I miss it, and the books or stitching projects we take along to while away the hot part of the day when some folks are sleeping and others can’t close their eyes in the heat.

And it is going to be hot (somewhere in the 90’s) which is about 20 degrees hotter than we’ve had it here, but it’s drier so that helps some. I guess. It’s one of the few times my dear Tam does not have cold feet that she must warm on my body. Still, hot is hot, and cold feet don’t bother me that much. And it’s only for a week. And my mother seems to be in a good mood, despite the fact that she just called me to tell me their septic system has died and this should get even more interesting as the week progresses. We cannot change our departure date because everything here has been set in stone; from house and critter sitter, to Li’l Red’s time with is dad. We might end up in a hotel. I didn’t pack for a hotel. Damn.

It will be fun, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get online while we’re down there via our new phones. It will be a first.

Wish us luck, I think we’re going to need it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hey! You Guyz!

It’s been pretty busy around Chez Chaos. Summer break has started and Tam and I have decided to make the most of it. Get this; we slept in until 6:30 one morning! Of course, the next morning we were both up at 3:30 because she says MY muse woke HER up with an idea for MY book! Rude. That meant Tam had to wake ME up to share the idea. Rude again. But it was a good idea however it really messed with our internal clocks because neither of us could get back to sleep, so we started our day in the dark hours.

Then there was the day Spawn came over. She was carrying something small and furry. It was a guinea pig. She found it wandering in the road a few streets over, so she picked it up and tried finding the owner. No one in the area knew anything about it, so she brought it to me.

Because I am a moosh for critters, that’s why, although she says she simply didn’t want to leave it in the car while she came in to visit. We ended up keeping it because Tam and Li’l Red took a fancy to the beast. I’ve not seen anyone take quite this fancy before. His name is George and he has a lovely new cage with lots of things to chew, he gets fresh fruit every day, and fresh greens as well as regular guinea pig food. He’s gotten round and silly and very spoiled. Silly pig. Oh, and the bird thinks she’s in love with him.

Then there was a bunch of other stuff that happened, but the big news is: Tam and I attended our very first Gay Pride parade, and WOW! We were invited to go by Tam’s daughter, the Hair. She lives there, and has been to pride parades before, so she was kind enough to escort us around. We were also accompanied by Thing. He’s straight, but he supports his moms. He is awesome: Straight but not narrow.

Anyway, you guyz we were only slightly prepared for what we were about to see. There were the usual suspects: drag queens and kings, transgendered folk, gay, lesbian, bi, straight, you know… the typical people who attend these functions, the ones we expected to see. We were not disappointed.

Then there were the furries, the leathers, the S&M, the NAKED PEOPLE RIDING BICYCLES, the guy with a sock on his, uh, penis that he was waving around (typical male, once they find it, they never stop playing with it), and the politicians.

Oh my gawd, the politicians… At least they were fully clothed.

There was lots of swag flying around and I managed to snap a marriage equality ring AND a rainbow string of beads RIGHT OUT OF MID AIR! You guyz! That was SO AWESOME, they actually cheered for me!

Did I mention the guy behind me was wearing genie shoes? I wanted to ask him for three wishes, but got distracted by NAKED PEOPLE AGAIN! Naked! People!

I am not exactly a prude, but having someone playing wig-wag-the-weenie in front of me and a crowd of strangers is a little bit out of my comfort level. I realize others don’t give it a second thought, nor do they do this kind of thing at work or on any given Sunday in Seattle, after all, this was a special occasion. But…wow. I just… wow.

We stood and watched for two-and-a-half hours before we’d reached our physical limits. My feet, legs, hips, back…all dead. Same with Tam and Thing. The Hair was willing to stick around a little longer, but she acquiesced when I mentioned food.

My favorite thing about today was when I realized I was totally comfortable being me in public. I didn’t shy away from holding Tam’s hand or kissing her right there in front of everyone, mainly because no one cared. Our children weren’t uncomfortable, or even fearful for us, as they might have been if we were in Our Fair City (which is smaller and not exactly gay friendly… occasionally gay dangerous is more like it). Today, we did not stand out in the crowd.

I felt no fear until I picked up a campaign sign to put up at home. I carried it around and to be honest, I was kind of afraid to do it. Not because it had LGBT in big, bold letters, but because it supported a political candidate.

I’m not well-read when it comes to news. News depresses the hell out of me, so I tend to be woefully uninformed of current events and political platforms. I was more concerned that someone was going to come up and start debating me about my choice of candidate than I was about having to support my sexual orientation! Seriously… But I did come up with a retort: I may not agree with everything he’s done in the past, but I can say the same thing about my partner and I still like both of them.

Today was great. We had a wonderful time at the parade and a fabulous lunch of Thai food. There were new experiences for all of us, after all, I don’t know if Thing has ever had Thai food before, but he seemed to like it well enough to eat his share.

Seriously though, I’m still debating whether or not to tell his dad that he went with us to the parade. It will probably set his hair on fire, so I won’t do it today, after all, he’s still on his honeymoon and I’m not that... mean…wait… Yes I am, but I promised my son I wouldn’t say anything that he’d have to defend.

Anyway, it’s been busy and it looks like there isn’t much of a letup in sight. I’m starting the second book (again, because there have been some serious, but excellent, changes) and I’d like to get it done by the end of summer so I can release it by the first of next year (or sooner…). We have a trip planned to visit my parents, then spend a few days at the beach to recover from said visit. There is yard work, housework, and a business to discuss. Oh, yeah, we may have an investor for the hat shop…

Life. Busy shit, you guyz, busy shit.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What’s Up?

Hi. It’s me. I’m still around, although with the close of school looming on the horizon (eight days, including the weekend!) it’s pretty much all I can do to hang on and crawl through the week.

Plus there was the editing, and the acceptance of the manuscript, and taking the cat to the vet because a half Siamese in heat is about as much fun as…what? The manuscript? It was accepted? Well, yes. Yes it was.

After a lot of thought and noodling over the independent vs. traditional publishing houses, I decided on going the independent publisher route. My ego kept begging me to try the traditional houses first, just to see if any of them would bite, then I remembered: when they buy your manuscript, they own it. All of it, all of those words you so painstakingly put together and edited and polished and loved and titled…and since they own it, they can change whatever the fuck they want.

I? Do not want that.

So, I shopped around. I researched lots of options, settled on a free ebook site, then looked again, because my mother couldn’t read it without a computer and she wouldn’t be happy about that. I looked at P.O.D. publishers and, well, wow. But there was one out there that just called to me. Unfortunately, they are picky about who they accept. Unlike some of the other P.O.D. presses out there, they won’t put their name on anything that they don’t think will sell. The other guys know they’ll sell some of your books, because the author has to buy about a thousand dollars worth of books.

Um, I’m pretty much fresh out of wealth at the moment, and I’m not sure when my shipment of barrels full of money will arrive. Last time, they got the order wrong and I ended up with barrels full of monkeys. You cannot buy groceries with monkeys; it makes the store clerks mad.

Anyway, I decided to try that one publisher. I sent it in and waited. After a couple days, I received the acceptance email and the REAL fun began.

The contract (I read it) and now the reformatting. Unfortunately, I chose a slightly smaller size book and now I’m looking at something HUGE because the page numbers are climbing (thanks to bizarre margins). I’m a little concerned what the price will be for said tome once I’m done fiddling around with it. Will anyone be able to afford a copy?

I may have to do some adjustments on paper quality etc, providing that’s still an option. If not, anyone need a slightly entertaining door stop?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dear Pastor Worley…

In response to the following:

First, let me say you have every right to your opinion as I have to mine. Except on this blog. This blog is mine, and your opinion doesn’t count.

So, let’s begin with your first idea, the one about the electrified fence. First off, don’t bother electrifying it. If you can round all of us up, chances are good, we’d be ok with living in a gated community filled with like-minded people. Imagine how you’d feel surrounded by a bunch of narrow-minded Christians! You’d be thrilled. Ya’ll could talk prophesy and salvation until your little ol’ eyeballs dropped out.

A community of lesbians?!? Bring it, mister! While I’m not on the prowl for another sweetheart, being able to be myself, express myself, and live my life openly and freely… holy shit, buster, that would be freaking AWESOME! Chances are good, we wouldn’t want to leave. As for the food drop, please make sure some of it is gluten free. I’m sure the “queers and homosexuals” will feel the same.

On another note, you’re all excited at the thought that after a few years, we’ll “all die out because [we] can’t reproduce.” Babe, let me tell you, we DON’T HAVE TO REPRODUCE, WE’RE BORN EVERY DAMN MINUTE TO HETEROSEXUAL COUPLES, JUST LIKE YOU!

No, seriously, out of every 100 babies born to a heterosexual couple, one of them will be gay. Really! Statistics show it. That means, as soon as that little darling shows signs of being gay, you’ll drop them in with us and we can continue in perpetuity.

In perpetuity means for a very long time, sir, just in case you didn’t know.

As for kissing a guy, well, I’ve tried it and just let me say, ya’ll just can’t kiss worth shit, so don’t bother. Kissing girls is MUCH nicer. We’re softer and our mustaches aren’t quite as bristly.


Karen and Tam. (Two women, lesbians, in fact, living together in love, raising our families. Oh, and some of those kids we have are straight. Also, we’re just as free to go where we please as you are. See you at the altar). 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Not That I’m Counting the Days…

There are fewer days left in the school calendar than I have fingers and toes. It’s a damn good thing, too, because this is the time of year when everyone has reached burn out and if we don’t get some summer break happening pretty damn quick, every single one of us will take retirement starting next week.

Run-on sentences much?

Anyway, work has been fun, with fun being on a par with forcibly having your toenails removed via your rectum. Yeah, THAT kind of fun. The kids are beyond insane, most of them are in rut and you would NOT believe some of the stuff we’re seeing when they think we’re not looking.

The weather has been giving us the treatment. It’s a lot like being chased through a Laundromat by a psycho washer woman wielding a pea shooter and plenty of frozen peas. Sun, rain, heat, rain and heat together for a miserable day in the tropics, rain, cold, SUN! rain, rain, overcast… I know, I know, we’re in Seattle! We should be used to that shit by now, but come ON! We’re only human, and to tease us with beautiful, glorious sunshine for a whole week, then to blast us with bone-chilling cold is just rude. But, like someone said, “at least we don’t have tornados.” Actually, we have had tornados, just not like the ones ya’ll grow in the Midwest. Ours are smaller and instead of mobile home parks, they like to attack the tile roofs of yuppie domiciles and cause a run on Starbucks.

Of course, around here all it takes is a duck sneezing to cause a run on Starbucks. It’s what we do, people, it’s what we do.

So, for those of us with arthritis and other creaky body things, the abrupt changes in the weather have been uncomfortable to say the least. If it doesn’t pop, creak, grind, or make an ugly squishy sound, then it’s not one of my body parts. That makes for a very cranky Karen. Tam’s in the same boat (and the woman keeps rocking the damn thing), so we’re just one rocking chair away from a nursing home.

Mother’s Day was fun. We had ALL the kids over for a yard work party. “What do you want for Mother’s Day?” they asked. “A clean yard.” They were thrilled at our answer. It’s a work in progress, but they’re not spending any money on us, so it’s all good. Plus we feed them when they come over, and since we’re both damn good cooks, they eat well.

I’ve been working on the manuscript (second book of the series) and the first is closer to publication. Right now, I’m waiting on the cover art to be finished by Tam’s daughter and I can’t wait. I saw the rough draft and let me tell you, it was amazing. I can’t wait to put it all together.

The journey to publication has been an interesting one, and I’m finally glad I decided to go the independent publishing route instead of the traditional publishing house route. I made these stories come to life, and quite frankly the thought of giving up all my rights to them didn’t sit well with me. They’re mine, and I don’t want any publisher saying some things just can’t happen because someone may not like it.

I thumb my nose at them.

So, if all goes as planned (which it rarely does, but there’s always a chance I’ll be surprised) I’ll be able to announce the debut of my very first ebook. I’m going with a pseudonym because I want to write in other genres and sometimes its hard when people are expecting fantasy/sci-fi (which boasts the moniker “alternate reality”) and end up with literary fiction. Besides, if I stay with my current name, then my former brother-in-law would have to share shelf space with me and I doubt he’d be pleased.

Plus it will confuse the hell out of my mother and give her another thing to bitch about, which she absolutely loves, and who am I to deprive her of such joy, hmm?

If you want, you can check out the blog of KT Moreis (ktmoreis(dot)blogspot(dot)com) and check out the one and only post. I’ll make my announcements from there (and here because the excitement will be an awful lot to try and contain on a single blog).

Just be glad I don’t have your phone number.