1.  Our across-the-street neighbor is failing.  When we moved in three years ago, she was sharp as a tack.  And she’s a dear. We looked forward to many years having her as a neighbor.  Last year, there was an episode where she misplaced her purse and was convinced that strangers had run into her house & grabbed it while she was getting her mail, stealing the keys to a rental car, among other things.  The purse was found weeks later (I do not know where,) and a week after that, she had forgotten it ever happened.  Which was a pretty big warning sign.

And now, as we were pulling out of our driveway last weekend to head to the airport, she pulled into our long driveway to inform us that people had been breaking into her house in the middle of the night and stealing the copies of her tax returns.  Also, two chairs. She came over the night we got back from AZ to tell me the whole story.  And she was terrified.  And it’s heartbreaking.

She doesn’t see that if one wakes up in the middle of the night to people riffling through one’s belongings, falling back to sleep isn’t the usual response–she’s obviously having bad dreams, and remembering the dreams in the morning, but not the fact that they were dreams.  I asked if she wanted us to install a chain on the inside of her door, since she was so frightened that all these people seemed to have keys to her house.  She didn’t know what I meant. And she’s scared all the time now. Her only real family is a half-cousin who lives a couple of towns over.  They check on her, but obviously not often enough. The police keep coming by to check on her, because it’s a small town & everyone knows–at this point–that things aren’t right for her.  But what to do?

I’m afraid she won’t be able to live by herself much longer, and it breaks my heart.  Getting old is the pits.

2.  The writing’s been going swimmingly.  Revision’s been going great, I should say, since I think everything’s there that needs to be, it just needs polishing to a high sheen.

It’s fun getting up in the morning and being so excited to open up the computer.  Yay for being on a roll.

3.  It was not bitterly cold today.  A blessing.  I’m done with bitterly cold, I have to say.

4.  I bought a dress for my stepdaughter’s September wedding today. Now here’s hoping that my willpower holds so that the dress fits in September.  Yikes.  (I’m pretty sure just seeing it in my closet will inspire me, since it’s a flat-out beautiful dress–exactly what I was looking for, color, fabric & style.)  Best part? I can wear my favorite heels with it.  Hurrah for comfy heels!

5.  The Boy took the wee one off to an indoor playground this morning, giving me a chance to mop floors and run a vacuum. Sometimes, all I want are clean floors!  (And, if I ever make money at this writing stuff? I’m hiring a cleaning lady. That’s the ONLY thing I miss about living in NYC–our cleaning lady.)  I’m really hoping once the kiddo’s in school every morning next year, that I have a bit more leeway in doing the weekly cleaning. Between a kid in the house & a husband who works at home, it sometimes seems almost impossible to clean the rooms I most want to clean–because they’re always in use.  The kitchen gets a good tidying/wipe down every night, but cleaning could happen a lot more often before anyone accused me of keeping a too-clean house.



Small Things 2-22-14

1.  Cough. Will. Not. Stop.  So tired of this.  Another week & if I’m not hack-free, I’m going to a doctor to rule out cancer. And TB.  And, I dunno, worms in my lungs from eating lettuce or something.  Getting tired of coughing & being hoarse.

2.  Made my favorite quick & easy enchiladas.  Everything is better with Hatch sauce.  Now if Whole Foods only did not charge an arm & a leg for them, all would be happy in “I miss SW food-ville”  However, since beans & rice are emerging as my son’s favorite food–bar none–I feel that my time & money are being well-spent, making sure he has lots & lots of SW food to stamp my imprint upon him!

3.  Ordered syrupping supplies today, since today’s warmth melted about a foot & a half of snow.  Really.  It might not be a super long season this year, like it was last year, so I guess I’d better be ready for it.  Though how I’ll continue dieting while syrupping, I really don’t know.  Is it possible to be around boiling sap for so long without tasting it quite often?  I don’t know. Suppose I’ll find out, since I AM trying to be good, and it’s been paying off, so I have some incentive not to cheat.

4.  Watched the worst movie ever last night.  No, really.  Jesus Christ, Vampire Slayer.  If anything, it was WORSE than the title might suggest.  (Not sure how that’s possible, but it was.) This was was entirely The Boy’s fault.  He owes me a regency romance or two.  Flowy skirts.  Tragic situations.  Manners galore.

5.  I have happily given up Candy Crush–damn the day I EVER started playing that bit of video crack–for DuoLingo.  Learning Spanish, basically as a computer game.  Totally fun, and hey, even somewhat effective.  I get far too excited when I advance a level.  Not so excited that I actually go out of my way to try to learn outside of the game, so verb tenses take a while to get, but once I’ve got them done this way? They seem to be stuck in my brain.  And now, I’m going to go bebo the hell out of some vino.

Small Things 2-21-14

1.  Sigh.  The trip back to Arizona was lovely on many many levels.  It was fantastic to see my family.  Parents, brother, brother’s family, extended family–it was wonderful.  We went to the Phoenix Zoo, which is still one of my favorite places in the world.  I was awfully productive, even operating on less sleep than I’d like, and dealing with the wonky hotel wi-fi.  I didn’t lose weight, but I didn’t gain it either–a win for me, since traveling tends to be all about the eating. Also, bonus–the dry air eliminated the remnants of the cough I’ve been incubating since Christmas and healed almost all the cracked skin on my hands.

But we’re home now and it’s still snowing.  And by ‘still’, I mean it’s been snowing for approximately 6 months.  Or so it feels.  I love winter. I actually enjoy snow.

I am SO ready for it to be springtime. At least my clementine survived our absence.

2.  The writing is going well. But tidying up the last bits of WIP means I have to start dealing with the concept of the query letter.  And, damn, I hate query letters.  Happily, I’ve found a few places to get some constructive criticism by pros, and I think I’m slowly making progress on moving from ‘abysmally bad’ to ‘only slightly horrible’.  Sigh.

This writing stuff iz hard.

3.  I ordered chickens.  Did I mention this already? I’m way more excited than I should be–likely because my selective memory is remembering the fun parts of having chickies, and conveniently forgetting the less-fun parts–like the fact that I now have an end date by which I have to have begun, worked on, & completed their new living quarters.  (I’d planned on working on the coop/run this winter, but see above, #1. I suspect May just got very very busy.)




Small things 2-11-14

1. Having a hard time writing. I’ve been spending a lot of time editing, getting sentences to gleam in low light. And now I need to go in and write some scenes which, while not entirely filler, are more place-holders than exciting events, which means I have to make place-holders feel exciting and vital.

Sigh.  And I’m not feeling it.

Part of it is this head cold. I think much of my forebreain has leaked into my sinuses due to all the nose-blowing.  Surely it can’t all be snot in there?

2.  More snow due on Thursday–just in time for our long-planned trip out west for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Wahoo for the coldest winter ever. Snowy, too. Happily, if we ever make it to Phoenix, the temps there are supposed to be in the high 80s.  Which I haven’t seen since, um, July? So I’ll go out there bundled against blizzards, go swimming & get sunburned, and then come home to ice storms and more freezing temps for another 2 months.

Is it wrong that I’m looking forward to the sunburn?

3.  Gah. I’b too stuffy to eben write proberly addybore.  Nap while he naps is advice almost as pertinent while ill as it was when he was a baby.  Off to sleep.



Small Things 2-10-14

1.  Last night, during a rousing game of “Left Right Center” (A dice game in which you roll three special dice, and according to the instructions on the dice, pass tokens either to the player on your left, the player on your right, the pile in the center, or you get to hold onto them for another turn.  The Boy rolled three ‘Lefts’ and, mathematically inclined dude that he is, proceeded to tell me what the odds were of rolling that particular combination. (1 in a few hundred? I am NOT mathematically inclined.)

I smiled, thinking of the coin tosses in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and proceeded to throw the same combination.  Then, for the rest of the game, I threw three ‘get to hold onto your pieces’ dice, allowing me to win in spectacular fashion.

Sometimes, the universe has a hilarious sense of humor.

2.  Supermarket cashier informed me I look terrible.  She meant ‘sick’, but it was still unpleasant to hear out loud. I even put earrings on, hoping to dazzle people into believing I’m not on the edge of death. Hah.  (*cough cough cough*) Maybe she was right…

3. Had a good visit to Brooklyn, eating all kinds of delicious treats.  (Ramen! Dumplings!) And my son had one of the best restaurant meals of his life. He ate a ton of everything, stayed awake til the end of the (admittedly early) meal, and tried to engage his grandfather in conversation. “Bumpa, do you know that Real Bunny’s ears are very long?”  Kid has my gift for small talk…

4. But it’s so good to be back home. I missed my bed. I missed my son’s toddler clock that keeps him in his own room until a civilized hour. And the cat missed us terribly. She has been lolling on the tv room floor all day, just watching the kiddo play with toys.

tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick…

Really over this cold. I mean, I’m not over this cold, which is the problem: over it but not over it if you know what I mean.

Yeah. Fever, snotty head/throat/chest, cough. Blech.

Even Dassara ramen last night didn’t do the trick. Even a big glass of fresh OJ from Hen’s favorite local diner. Even Eton dumplings–nope, sick is still here.

We’re heading back home either tonight or tomorrow, and I’m ready to be there now. Just wish the drive wasn’t between me & my own bed…



Small Things 2-7-14

1.  Loving the date, but then, those of you who know me, would already know that.

2.  Last night I had a bizarrely severe exacerbation of this winter-blech that I can’t seem to shake. From just general blah-feeling, I spiked a fever that sent me to a scalding bath & then to bed.  For 12 hours to bed.  Seriously, I don’t know when I last slept so much or so hard.  It did me good, though. I woke up today — after a lie-in, thank you, wonderful husband –without a fever, just generally achy from the fever-aftermath, and with a sore throat. But I’m breathing easier, which is nice. I was actually wondering last night if I’d be trying to get in to see a doctor today, but am happy to report that won’t be necessary!

3.  Weight loss continues apace.  Which is to say slllloooooooowwwwly.  2 pounds a week is respectable, but since my body is insisting 20 hours a day that I’m starving to death, it seems like I ought to be slender already, damnitall.  A couple of things inspiring me here.  One is Mo’s most impressive weight loss via Jenny Craig.  The other is an upcoming wedding I will be attending this fall, which I think I’ve mentioned.  Also, I decided that my son’s already going to go through life with ‘older’ parents.  I’d just as soon he not have to go through life with the overweight mom who can’t do things with him–not because of her age (which I have no control over!) but because of her overweight & out-of-shapeness. (which I have ultimate control over.)  Plus you know, looking awesome in blue jeans or a sensible swim suit.  And yeah, good health, blahblahblah, but it’s mostly a vanity thing.

And my tried & true calorie counting seems to be working out for me in all ways.  Namely, it forces me to acknowledge that little bites of this & that DO add up, but also, it allows me to ‘budget’ calories throughout the day.  For whatever weird reason, admitting to others (well, except for to the entire internets, apparently) that I’m dieting, is really unpleasant for me.  So this way, I can eat dinner like a non-dieter, and just be really careful the rest of the day, which makes my brain happier for some reason.

And it’s working, so I’ll leave it at that.

4. The revisions suggested by The Boy to The Book are also continuing.  He had some wonderful suggestions–damn, he’s good.  We don’t tend to like the same books, so some of his suggestions I’m taking with salt, but the purely structural ones are right on, and I’m reminded how wonderful it is to have a beta reader.  Happily, my stepdaughter has begun writing and she very much writes the kind of things I do. Which has been nice for a shared bonding experience for us, but also, selfishly, it’s nice because she’s someone to run the story by for ‘does this appeal to you’, which test my book automatically fails when I hand it to The Boy!

5. The windowsill over my kitchen sink is pretty much where my indoor garden lives.  Namely, all the weird seeds I’ve gotten to sprout from kitchen waste. At the moment, my most wonderful success is a plant that originally just had a ginger plant in it, but I kept tossing in fruit seeds.  Right now, there’s a Pink Lady apple & a Spanish Clementine growing in the pot with the ginger plant.  Apples are easy, but I’m delighted by that clementine.  It was a freak fruit–absolutely packed with seeds, obviously an outlier, but it would be something to grow a clementine from seed, yes?


The ginger is the big plant in the center, apple is to the right, and my lovely little Clementine is on the left.  Go wild plants!


For whatever reason–(introvert at a) party? (slovenly housekeeper forced to do hardcore) pre-party cleaning? (both of the above, recovery from same?) post-party recovery?–this has been a week of not-so-productive as I’d like to be.

(Which is nothing new.  I could legitimately claim that my entire life is not-so-productive as I’d like to be.)

But the writing is feeling sort of meh.  The reasons for this are obvious to me, and things I just need to push through: A story I’d hoped to placed in an anthology was turned down.  Turned down gently, and for good reasons that were out of my control, but still.  And The Boy is currently going over the current draft of Book with a nit comb, and finding all kinds of problems.  Which is good to know, yes, but definitely takes it out of my determination to writewritewrite today.  Also, he’s a slow reader/commenter.  Thorough as hell, but he has the habit of telling me things, as well as writing them out for me.  So I agonize over what he’s told me while waiting for him to finish the crit, which means I’m just beating myself up for being such a crap writer instead of actually fixing the problems…) Grrr.

And I’m dieting, which is never likely to make me a happy person.  I mean, I’ll be happy when I’m done, but I’m a miserable dieter.  But it needs to happen.  Like, a lot.  Like an embarrassing lot.  And the worst of that is, that although it’s obvious to anyone who looks at me that I could stand to lose some weight, I am MORE embarrassed by the admission that I’m dieting, than by the evidence that I NEED to diet.  How whacked is that?  So I guess I’d rather be the fat woman eating the (theoretical) Big Mac, than the fat woman eating a salad.  Because then, yeah, someone might notice that I’ve allowed myself to get heavy?

No, it really doesn’t make sense, but there it is, the heart of my dieting resistance.

The good news is that week one of the diet was a success.  I lost three pounds.  And Myfitnesspal.com is a super-helpful tool.  And I think I’ve found a couple of things to keep my mid-afternoon munchies under control.  (dried fruit!  Apples & tea!) But it’s hard, and part of the problem is that I don’t have many ‘easy cuts’ to make.  I eat a rather healthy diet as it is, I just need to eat LESS of it.  Which makes me all kinds of cranky.  Grrrrr.  But still, I want to be slender and able to pull off a fabulous dress for my stepdaughter’s September wedding, which is all kinds of inspiring.  I want to be able to romp with my son at the beach this summer without being self-conscious, and that’s inspiring.  So I’ll keep going, and get it done, which is what I’m good at.  Long haul girl? That’s me.

Come September, I just want there to be a lot less of me-the-long-haul-girl.

And now I’m going to put in an hour or so of writing, and see if that improves my crummy mood at all.


The Boy’s “We’re All Turning 60 This Year” birthday party with 20 of his high school classmates was a rollicking, rousing, roaring success.  Introvert (and 44-year-old) that I am, I retreated upstairs as soon as was (maybe) politely possible.  All the wine glasses were already in use, so I brought mine upstairs in a coffee mug.  And now we have far more chili in the fridge than any small family should have to eat.  And more alcohol in the house than we ever have before.  And cake.  So much cake.

These are not actually problems in the greater scheme of things, now that I think about it…