Small Things 7-30-14

1.  Chickens tried to follow us on our daily dog walk.  Onto the main street in our little town.  Um, no. That didn’t work.  It’s nice to be adored (for the mealworm treats we give them!) but it would be even nicer if I didn’t have to cut short our walk because the chickens wanted to cross the road.

Bad jokes may commence, um, now

2.  We joined a local C(ommunity) S(upported) A(griculture) program, and so far I’m loving the challenge of receiving bags of produce I didn’t handpick for our family.  4 kirby cucumbers? Challenge accepted, and I think I get to level up since I just made my first batch of quick refrigerator pickles and they’re delicious.  Head of lettuce? Ugh, fine, we’ll eat SALAD–never my fave–but I’ll dress it up with a purple bell pepper!  And the corn will go nicely with tonight’s swordfish.  And the kiddo & I pretty much ended the pint of blueberries we were given, so I suppose we should really save the peaches for my husband who-loves-peaches-above-all-things.  Plus, this little farm sells Hatch’s Green Enchilada sauce for a full $.75 a can less than Whole Foods, so let’s get a great big ‘yay’ going for that one.  They also sell local cheese–mozzarella with our tomatoes next month, here we come!–and we’re already buying our milk locally.

Still haven’t really managed to source out our meat from this area, but our fish is caught nearby, and we’re doing pretty well with everything else.  Here’s to eating locally!

3.  On that note, I finally had to stake up the tomato cages–which is good.  Means there’s enough  plant there to actually produce tomatoes.  I have one ready to pick tomorrow, and I. Can’t. Wait.

4.  I’ve been running–(ok, I’ve been walking with intermittent bursts of painfully slow jogging).  But it’s good.  I’m feeling good–better about myself and my complete lack of motivation to do anything physical besides pulling weeds (which, granted, can get pretty physical when they’re as big as I’ve let them get in a few of the garden paths!)  So I’m doing better.  I’m planning on sticking with it as long as the lack-of-snow cooperates, and I’m even considering a gym membership for when the snows arrive.  See?  I can be a responsible adult and take charge of my own health.

5.  I mentioned that I’m in the research stages of writing a new book, and how much fun it is for me to be starting something entirely new.  I’m setting this book in the future, along the banks of the Colorado River, in an imagined set of societies loosely based on current populations.  And to that end, I’m trying to incorporate some Diné words & concepts.  Way back in my college days, I took a year of Navajo Language–which was far & away the most interesting class of any sort that I enjoyed during my undergrad days. Because it was–by necessity, the culture is intrinsically bound up in the language–an absolute glorious mess.

I dug out my old photocopied dictionary–back in the day there was no such thing as Google Books to give access to out of print stuff, so the teacher would just xerox her materials.  And I’m looking at the notes I scribbled all over it (and noticed how different my handwriting was before the broken arm!) and remembering how interesting it was to get such an indepth look at another world–because that’s what it felt like, another world living in tandem with the one I’m familiar with.

And that’s a little bit of what I’m trying for in this book, to recapture a bit of that shock and delight that ‘there’s another entirely different world view that I never even knew about right here!”

Let’s see if I manage to get any of that into the book.  If I do, it’s going to be awesome.

 

Small Things 7-6-14

1.  A wasp stung my eyelid while I was cleaning out the chicken coop–Little bastids built a nest inside the coop itself. How nice.  This sting hurts like a spiky bit of hot lava shoved under my eyelid.  A lot, in other words. Blinking is all kinds of agony, but happily (?) my eye is pretty much swollen shut. Not much blinking actually happening anytime soon.

The best husband in the world is taking the kiddo out to dinner, and then coming home to do battle against hundreds of mighty foes with wasp spray, a garden hose, and a decoy wasp nest.

Die wasps, die! Say it with me, folks…

2.  Saw the turkeys again.  Actually think they might have decided that since the chickens are roaming free, this must be a pretty safe place to be a soft, stupid bird.  I sort of hope they figure out that this area loves its turkey hunts & get wise. Because those baby turkeys? SO blasted cute that I’d hate to have their deaths on my head!

However, I also realized why certain, shall-we-call-them turkey-sized patches in my corn patch have had absolutely nothing growing in them.  This would be because the tom is using the patch as his own private sunbathing/dustbathing spot.  I chased him off and he came back. Chased him off again, and again he came back. Finally got stung by a wasp (which was probably in cahoots with the turkey) and left him to it.

Have a blast, Mr. Turkey. Flop on. I suppose losing those seven or so ears of corn is worth it in sheer entertainment value.

3.  Dream agent still has manuscript, which is more good than bad, I think.  Good because it means they read past the first page, most likely. Bad because I think I might break the Internets by compulsively checking my email every 32 minutes or so.

(I did, however, get a fantastic fortune in my cookie at the Japanese food restaurant–which essentially pretty much assures success here. So I’m not worried at all.

Hah. Hah on SO many levels.)

4.  Eye.  Swollen.  Shut.  Did I mention this? I suppose I should be really damned grateful it wasn’t my eyeball that got nailed. This is uncomfortable and temporarily pretty disfiguring, but I’m thinking actual eye (and we’re talking about 1/16th of an inch away–he nailed the inside of my eyelid) sting could be potentially pretty dangerous to, you know, my sight.  And I’m not enjoying the half-blind experience even knowing it’s temporary–got to say.  My sight appears to be remarkably bad without stereoscopic vision.

5.  Kiddo, when he saw my ridiculously swollen face after waking up from his nap was pretty unfazed–he did, however, immediately tell me that he’s pretty sure he was stung by a wasp, too.  So perhaps he should have an ice pack as well.

Little Münchausen syndrome Boy.

Small Things 7-1-14

1.  A firefly in my room late last night.  Rather a magical thing to wake up to.

2.  My dream agent requested my full manuscript.  This may very well come to nothing, but it surely was a nice boost when I needed one.

3.  “I love you ever so much,” whispered by my son after I’d left his room, and he came running downstairs for a final hug & kiss.  *melt!*

4.  Sweet corn is coming up, tomatoes are growing like mad (I’m glad they like this weather, it’s not my favorite!) and the garden is generally thriving after its rough start.  We’ll see how much we actually get at harvest, but it could be worse.

5.  Visiting a friend with chickens gave me the opportunity to notice how very ‘roostery’ her Rhode Island Red hens look.  Upright, long tails, rather slim build.  This was a huge relief, since our RI Red is my favorite of the chickies, and I’ve been cringing every time I see him her, wondering how I’m going to part with her if she turns out to be a him.

 

 

Small Things 6-27-14

1.  Today the air smelled of flowers.  What a lovely summer day.

2.  However, on the other side of the smelliness-scale, my son’s extremely stinky feet have started warranting their own bath ritual, with Dial soap.  Which did, finally, cut the stink.  When I sniffed to see how our experiment worked, the kiddo said, “Don’t they smell refreshing now, Mommy?”

Um, yes?

3.  It’s been a good week on so many counts, for the little guy.  Beach days and playdates for fun, and excellent progress made on some things we’ve been working hard on.  He’s so well-spoken and funny though, that I forget sometimes how very young he still is.  Today I had to go to the Apple store at the local mall–where I had promised Hen a ride on the carousel in the food court after our errand was done. We rounded the corner and realized, astonished, that the carousel was simply no longer there. He burst into silent, embarrassed tears and whispered, wiping his eyes frantically–so I wouldn’t notice, I suppose, “But what am I going to ride on now?”  Poor little guy.  Some ice cream helped ease the disappointment, but it was such a little guy reaction from my big kid that it almost made me cry.  I don’t want him to be in such a hurry to grow up that he’s embarrassed about showing me the depth of his disappointment.  Promised carousel rides that simply cannot happen are a big deal when you’re three.

4.  Speaking of Apple, though, they sure came through for me.  I have a MacBook Air that went completely wonky after the last firmware update.  Like, wouldn’t reliably turn on level of wonk.  After trying a few resets with a tech on chat, I was asked to bring it in, whereupon they replaced the logic board–under warranty, and two days earlier than they had promised.  It works just like it’s supposed to now–better than ever, actually.  I suspect there was always something a little off about that board–and I’m left feeling happy again with my computer platform of choice.  Way to go, Apple!

5.  Blueberries!  I was all astonishment when we spotted one of our scrawnier bushes with a full load of ripe blueberries.  The kiddo was ecstatic, and I’m just hoping the chickens don’t find any of the low branches before the kiddo has  achance to fully pick through them.

(5.5  And oh yeah, about the chickens?  I’m starting to have a sneaking suspicion that 4 out of the 5 might be of the roosterly persuasion.  This would NOT be a good thing…)

Small Things 6-20-14

1.  Wow.  Long time since I’ve been on here–no excuse, just got busy & lazy in equal measure.  So for quick updates:  Summer finally arrived.  And I do mean finally.  Like last week.  But then it arrived with a vengeance–moving from oh, say, mid-March weather to late June weather overnight.  Of course, last night, we moved back to late March weather, so who the hell knows what this last week of June will bring. The tomatoes have been in a deep state of shock since I planted them out at the beginning of the month.  Who the hell knows if we get any tomatoes this year?  Folks who understand me know that that’s pretty much akin to me saying, “Who knows if the earth will continue spinning on its axis this year…”

Ugh. We just got our first peas today.  About a month late, by my reckoning.  Tomatoes only have a one-month season.  Which means…bad garden year so far. Bummer.

2.  Good news is that the chickies are adorable. Living outside quite happily for quite a while (thank heavens!) No hawk fatalities, no Mattie-Catty murder sprees, and no accidentally wandering off and becoming the neighbor’s chicken–yes, which has happened to me before.  Happily, it was a rooster, which I wasn’t too fond of, so it worked out just fine, but still. Embarassing.

Bad news is that I think Hoos-Foos is almost certainly a rooster–and not at all inclined to wander off in search of a better home.  If he’s a quiet rooster (and there are a few out there), then he’s still ok here. We’ve got room for rooster shenanigans.  But not if he’s a 3am crow-er.  Happily, I have a few folks lined up willing to take a boy-chickie, so it’s not going to be too traumatic if he can’t live here, but still.  I wanted 5 hens, damnit.  And he was supposed to be my green-egg layer, too.

3.  Summer vacation is hard.  By which I mean, this kid is the joy of my life, I wouldn’t trade our worst moments together for the best of times without him around, but damn, 2-hours of school a couple of times a week was a nice break.  And what’s up with things like gymnastics classes taking summer breaks?  I mean, dudes, when do you think I really need you?  SUMMER!!! All that energy, so many rainy days.  Sigh.  Things take longer with a 3-year-old in tow.  There is more whining.  There are more tears.  However, there are also more opportunities for giggling, for crazy poems, for the 87th version of his favorite joke (What do you get when you cross a crocodile & a rooster?  A croc-a-doodle-doo!) There are more impulsive hugs, accompanied by “You’re the best mommy I could ever hope for!”  (No idea where he got that from, a book somewhere, I’m sure, but it never fails to warm my heart. Kid knows how to get to me.) There are lots of opportunities for bubble-blowing, for helping in the garden. Many chances to play card games here & there throughout the day. He’s become a champion at pushing the cart in the grocery store.  We fold laundry together–he does at least as good a job (which isn’t saying much) as I do on washcloths.  He tries to finagle an extra viewing of Justice League cartoons whenever he thinks he can get away with it–and then he begs me to watch it with him.

In other words, summer vacation is the best.  Did I say hard? I meant ‘the best’.

4.  I’ve been incredibly frustrated with trying to lose weight.  Counting calories religiously, keeping it under 1100 a day, and my weight loss rate is about 1 pound every two weeks.  Really.  I know I need to move more, but it’s just not happening this summer.  Exercise is going to be my #1 priority starting on the first day of school, and I hope to see a bit quicker results then.  Because really, this is just annoying.  That mid-forties thing they tell you about?  Oh yeah.  Here to tell you it’s all true, and even worse than you imagined.

5.  I have, however, finished a book and I’m nearly happy with it.  Still tinkering, as I send it out, but it’s pretty much there.  I have not yet found an agent who wants to represent it, and that’s frustrating. Emotionally exhausting, setting one’s heart-work up for repeated rejection, and of course there’s the terror, not-quite-suppressed, that no one will want it, and well, that’s the end of that book.

To that end, I’m NOT working on book 2 in this trilogy any more until I feel like it will find a home.  So I get to start a new book, and I’m in that really enjoyable phase of mulling it over in my mind, playing with ideas for a few hours, then picking up another bright shiny idea that my mind has collected in the last year or so, when my writing time has been otherwise occupied.  So good stuff & not-so-good, all together.  (But, damn, I wish I could find the perfect agent for this–you know, the one who says, “Oh yeah! I see what you’re doing and I like it & believe in it, & let’s SELL this thing!”  That would be really kind of wonderful.

Wish me luck, and a lot of it.

 

 

 

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Small Things 5-13-14

1.  The change in the dog is amazing, and makes me feel awful.  She’s a whole new dog, excited about, well–about life.  Poor thing.  PSA: Get your dog’s teeth checked, cleaned, x-rayed, & if necessary, pulled.  She’ll be very happy (believe it or not) that you did.

2.  Chickens could move into the coop if necessary.  I’ll let them stay inside near a heat source for another couple of weeks, but the worst slog of the coop is DONE.  (Thank heavens.)

3.  And my query letter for agents is coming together.  Damn, it’s hard to create a marketing document.  The reason I’m a writer is because I kind of suck at sales.  If I were good at selling stuff, I’d be, you know, a successful businessperson or something. *sigh*.  Still, it has to be done, and happily in this day & age, there are a lot of online resources to help with the nuts & bolts of it.  But still.  I reserve the right to whine.

4.  Leaves are coming out, forsythia are everywhere–as are those weird lavender/purple azaleas. I would like springtime more, in fact, if there were fewer purple azaleas–don’t know why, but that particular color sets my teeth on edge.  Anyone else, or is it just me?

5.  Mother’s day was quiet–we don’t really celebrate the ‘Hallmark Holidays’, but my son made me a brooch at school–glitter and seashells–and it is the loveliest thing I have ever seen.  Also, he enjoyed the giving so much that he woke me up on Monday with an armful of stuff.  “Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy!”  “Oh, sweetie, that’s so nice. But yesterday was Mother’s Day, and remember–you already got me something I love.” “I want to give you even more, Mommy.  Here’s a truck.  We can play with it, if you like.”

(If I like?  Kid knows me inside & out.  Of course I’ll play with him given an explanation like that. Just let me put on some socks, kiddo, and we can play trucks til the cows come home.)

I am so very lucky, so very blessed, so very grateful.

Small Things 5-5-14

1.  Dog went to the dentist today.  Poor thing.  Actually, stoned-out-of-her-mind thing. Tomorrow, she can be poor thing. Tonight, she’s too loopy to pity.

2.  I am the proud recipient of All The Dandelions.  Kiddo has asked me to build a bigger shelf so he can put every last one in the whole world on that shelf for me.  So much love.  (And no, that was not snarky even a little. We both love dandelions, and he loves giving them, and I love receiving them.)

3.  Chicken. Coop.  The slog of the chicken coop (damn, I’ll be glad when this project’s over!)  Today’s adventure involved a Suburu station wagon, 4 sheets of 4′ x 8′ plywood, and lots of kind men.  There was the kind man in the parking lot who offered to help me put it inside the station wagon, then when it became obvious it wasn’t going to fit, insisted on helping me get it up on top of the roof rack.  Then, once I’d gone back inside for rope, and tied it–yikes!–to the roof rack, I drove it home.  Where the foundation-repair guys insisted on helping me unload it.  Which was nice, because they’re kind and meant well, but at the same time, I’ll be glad when they’re gone so that I can just do stuff outside without having to deal with the constant stream of male-awe that I actually know how to use a hammer (coupled with the inability to believe that *sigh* I’m actually strong enough to carry 1/2″ plywood all by myself.)

Though I’ll confess I was super grateful for the help getting the sheets up on top of my car in the parking lot of Home Depot.

4.  The chickens have started scratching up their paper and attempting to take a dust bath in the shredded mess.  Their feathers are coming in, and I’m sure it’s itchy and uncomfortable, but still.  You can’t even imagine the mess (or the ridiculousness of seeing a chicken trying to dust bathe on a ripped piece of paper.) Chickies are dumb.  Chickies also need to go live outside.  Stat.

5.  School again tomorrow for the child.  I love this boy more than the moon and stars, but damn, weeks without school are long, long, long weeks.  And the tooth thing hasn’t helped.  He’s still sore enough he had to forgo one of his favorite meals tonight, so it’ll be interesting to see if the traditional School Snack of Goldfish Crackers gets eaten tomorrow or not.

(Regardless, I’m SO going to Target tomorrow while he’s at school, and I’m going to wander down aisles where I don’t even need anything. Alone time! Woohoo!)

Small Things 5-3-14

1.  Chicken coop construction is proceeding apace.  Which is fancy-talk for, ‘slower than I’d like, but quicker than I’d expect.’  I really hate working with hardware cloth (wire mesh).  My hands look like I’ve been in battle with more than dirt and wood.  I need one more trip to home depot for plywood, and then the rest of it should go pretty quickly.  I hope.  I have to say that I’m tired of this project.  I’m ready to move the chickens outside (though it’s still getting cold enough at night that I wouldn’t make them live outside just yet even if their home were 100% ready.) and I’m ready to be doing other things with my disposable time.  Like play in the garden.

2.  The cat has, according to our neighbor, been attacking the wild turkeys we’ve been seeing around here.  Seriously.  The cat is 8 pounds of pure, unadulterated murder.  I swear to Bastet that if I come downstairs one morning and find a turkey in my kitchen, I will not be responsible for what happens next.  We’ve already put bells on the cat. What’s next? Tying a toaster to her collar?

3.  A guy who’s a dead ringer for Aaron Douglas (Chief Galen Tyrol from Battlestar Gallactica) is re-pointing our very old brick foundation.  He comes from a family of writers and feels like he’s wasting his life as a bricklayer.  I feel like asking him if perhaps his secret Cylon identity is at the root of his dissatisfaction with life, but that probably wouldn’t go over very well…

4.  The chickens have finally learned that human beings = mealworms.  Or rather, that the presence of humans in the room, means that mealworm treats are not necessarily far behind.  Of course, the cat is probably going to kill these chickens (is that even possible?) so I shouldn’t get too attached, but it’s awesome having chickies come when I call again.  I love these darned birds.

5.  A few raspberry plants I put in the ground last fall are sprouting leaves, though none of the boughten plants have put out anything green yet. Asparagus is coming up, and this is the first year we actually get to eat it, so, yay!  Also, one of my kale plants came back.  I realize people like kale for healthiness reasons, but seriously, what an awesome salad plant.  I’ve always avoided growing lettuce because A) not my favorite veggie & B) who can be bothered to grow such a fussy little plant, but I think I’m going to be eating a lot of kale because this ‘perennial salad plant’ thing is just amazing.  And it’s pretty.  Can’t beat that for a garden plant.

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4-30-14

5am:  Small boy staring at me over the edge of my bed.  “What’s up, kiddo?” “Nothing.” “Go back to sleep.” “Ok.”  He does. I don’t.

7am: Time to get up. Am greeted by a kitchen full of feathers and one partially denuded bird. And a very pleased cat. Take away the bird, put it outside in a bush, and start sweeping. Grrr. Feathers everywhere. At least the bird either managed to fly away, or settle down into the yew branch to die. Cat is a total jerk about this whole thing, demanding affection for her mighty hunting prowess.

9am: Gym class for the kiddo. And for whatever reason, he’s sort of being a pill at class.  Not being friendly with his friends, trying to start a fight with me, “Mommy, let’s just go home. NO, no, no, I changed my mind!” All this until class was over, at which point he got very manically happy, and…

10am: While playing a rousing game of chase with his best buddy (whom he’d been snubbing all class) he collided tooth-first with a littler kid.  Littler kid is fine, but Henry’s wailing and then utters the words of despair, “Mommy, this really really hurts.  Oh, and I can’t close my mouth.”  No blood at all, but I look closer and one of his front teeth is totally in the wrong place.

Shit. Why do these things keep happening on my watch? I swear I’m not a neglectful mom, though you wouldn’t necessarily know it based on his injury record.

10:30am: Get the kid home, call the pediatric dentist who wants nothing to do with my description of what’s going on.  Sends us straight to an oral surgeon.  By this time, kiddo’s hungry as hell, so I feed him pudding, which holds him til his appointment in 2 hours.

12:30pm: Kiddo is charming everyone in the waiting room with his adorable little 3-year-old self.  He found a decrepit viewfinder (remember those? I’m totally getting him one of his own!) and amused himself (and the rest of the waiting room) narrating grand dinosaur adventures until it was his turn.

The next 2 hours passed in a bit of a blur.  There were pliers involved.  And tears. There was some pain medicine that I think turned that child against apple juice forever. There was an xray taken, and there was some deliberation over whether to pull it now, or give it a chance to see if it’ll heal in place.  We’re attempting to salvage the tooth, so she just wrenched it back into place.  Which was sort of horrifying to watch. Even stoned out of his mind on pain drugs, it hurt him.  But the tooth isn’t broken, and he can close his mouth again. And he might get to keep the tooth, so that’s good.  (Or if might abscess, causing him more pain a month or a year down the road. We’ll see.)

Back at home, after a truly silly 45 minute drive home wherein he made absolutely no sense at all, he progressed from stoned/happy to stoned/manic to stoned/pissed off & exhausted/defiant.  (“I will dance on one leg in circles, Mommy. I will fall on my face, Mommy!”)  When I decided a nice warm bath might even out his rough edges, it turned out the hot water heater had fritzed out (this happens all the time.) So, no bath. Soup with rice, then early to bed.  We’ll see if he wakes up sad in the middle of the night.  We’ll see if all my nightmares tonight are about teeth falling out. Mine or his.  Ugh.

It was not a good day, today, really, from start to finish. Tomorrow, I hope, will be better.  (I’d say it could not be worse, but really, I’m nowhere near that foolhardy!) Going to bed now. I feel like a rubberband stretched tight all day, and now I’m just floppy with stress-reaction. Night.

 

Small Things 4-25-14

1.  So I have been afflicted with the cough that will not quit.  Pretty sure the chickens gave me chickbeast flu, since it all started when I brought them home.  Seriously, it’s spring. Tired of hacking like it’s February.  Sigh.

Hack.

Cough.

2.  Chickens have many feathers and the beginnings of chicken-ish personalities.  Buttercup is dumb as bread, but looks like she will be lovely.  As friendly as a chickbeast can be, really, she’ll walk up calmly and peck at my wedding ring until I go find her a mealworm to eat.  She’s obviously falling over herself with friendliness.  Hoos-Foos is a brat. Big & mean to the others, she’s totally the big boss lady hen.  Which has, actually, been my experience with Aurcanas, so no surprise there. Snimm is sort of sad, all alone.  She sleeps a lot and tends to have poo on her toes.  Lily still looks like a baby chick, though she’s definitely growing. Just no feathers, all fluff.  And Henrietta Potter is still speedy quick and sneaky.

I love them all.

And the coop is (sort of) coming along.  In between coughing and rain days & wind days, it’s coming along.

3.  I can hear my child reprimanding my husband for cursing.  “Daddy, that is a stupid word. Say ‘gee whillikers’ instead!”  Kiddo is quite the enforcer.

4.  Turns out our sinkhole is actually the remnants of an old buried tree stump.  Our lawn-guy dealt with someone else’s bad decision to bury a stump years ago, and this is the result.  Stump rotted, washed away, and we’re left with trying to fill in lateral holes that used to be massive roots & trunks.  Sigh.  Lesson here: don’t be lazy, folks. Hire a bulldozer dude to just remove the stump in the first place, eh?  Guess we have our season’s yard maintenance project all picked out…

5.  Writing writing writing. Nearly there. Time to start agent-shopping.  Hope to find one to represent this.  Time to start writing a new book regardless.  My, I’m tired of this one.

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