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.

Small Things 4-15-14

1.  We have

CHICKENS!!!

(And I’m rather more excited than the kiddo.)

Who has, nevertheless, been offered naming rights, since he’s, you know, the small child around here.

He tried to get away with calling them One-y, Two-y, Three-y, Four-y, & Five-y, but I ended that idea.  Then I fell in love with the friendly little Buff Orpington who comes a’running when I drop my hand into the cage, and started calling her Buttercup before I could help myself.  Better hurry up, kiddo, you only have four left to name!

So then he decided that ‘Harry Potter’ would be a great name, I agreed (though am rather astonished he’s remembered this book, which we’ve only talked about once that I can recall, to say that someday when he’s older, Mommy will read it to him at night.)  So I was all set for HP, but then The Boy took exception to a dainty little hen having such a masculine name.  So he re-dubbed the sneaky little Rhode Island Red “Henrietta Potter”  Oi.  But ok, better to have some interest coming from both boys, since the chickies are really my passion so far, and if a bad punny name is what it takes for him to feel some proprietary interest in them, well, Henrietta it is…

The third one, Hen was determined to name ‘Snimm’ – from his favorite Dr. Seuss story about the 23 sons of Mrs. McCave, and what she should have named them instead of ‘Dave’.  So, little Black Australorp is now ‘Snimm’.

And the Aurcana is ‘Hoos-Foos’

And the Golden Comet is ‘Lily’ Both for Tiger Lily in Disney’s Peter Pan (Oh, and more on that later!) and for HP’s mom.  She’ll grow up to be a mottled red/white, sort of like the speckles on a tiger lily, so we’re all happy about this one.

2.  Peter Pan.  Oh, Peter Pan.  I remembered mostly that Captain Hook was way scary.  I remembered the song “Never Smile at a Crocodile”.  Cute story about a boy who never grew up, and his band of wacky pals, right?

Hah.

I did not remember ‘hunting Indians’ being offered as an appropriate game for small boys.  I did not remember Wendy whining that she had to ‘gather firewood with the squaws’ instead of ‘becoming a chief’ like PP.  I did not even remember the rather horrifying betrayals by Tinker Bell, nor that PP was the dude responsible for chopping off Captain Hook’s hand.  Fair fight my ass.  Dude can fly.

Kiddo’s been obsessed with Jake & The NeverLand Pirates, for a few weeks (which, if you’re lucky enough not to know, is this godawful preschooler show in which Captain Hook & Smee are just sort of daft yahoos who keep getting duped by Jake & his buddies: a girl pirate & a little-boy pirate.)  It’s dopey, but not-too-scary, and not-too-objectionable.  Based on  PP’s Neverland.  Sort of.  If NeverLand had lots of Pirate Princesses who wield Rainbow Wands!

But anyway, we’ve been eating coconut, reading Pirate Potty books and saying things like “ahoy, Matey!” every time he wears his (medically necessary) eye patch.  So when I saw the Little Golden Book of PP at the grocery store, I didn’t even look through it, just tossed it in the cart along with a copy of Brave.  We buy books here. It’s what we do.

And reading it this noon with him, I had to skip as much as I read.  Happily he prefers Brave, but I’m going to have to go through PP with a pen and some white-out, because seriously, he’s not allowed to read it as it stands.  Not as a preschooler.  When he’s in elementary school, we can have a talk about subconscious racism, and how to take what one is reading with a grain of historical salt, etc. But right now, I’m not going to let him internalize that shit accidentally.

So disappointed!

3.  Other major accomplishment today was cutting down the bookcase in the TV room that was here when we bought the place, and which has recently become too tempting a ladder for a certain monkey-child.  Also, our old wood floors shake when a certain rhinoceros-child runs through the house, and the bookcase starts to shudder in a most alarming way.  Since the thing is wood, solid, and 6′ x 7′, I was fearing that one day he’d squish himself like a Mor’du child under a large stone (thank you, Little Golden Book version of Brave for that visual!) But it’s been cut down to about 6′ wide by 4′ tall and tomorrow I’ll hit up Home Depot for screw-in feet to level it on our decidedly unlevel floors. Then we’ll reload with DVDs.  His toys will go elsewhere, so I’m hoping the urge to climb will be done away with.

And even if he does pull this one down on himself, it would no longer crush his head.  So yay.

4.  Chicken stew for dinner seemed rather difficult to make since I had to keep interrupting the cooking to go check on my wee little avian darlings.  Er, that would be my chickens.  Who have names.  Any more avian-darling stew, anyone?  Perhaps with a side of cognitive dissonance?

5.  The cat wants those baby chicks with a fiery, predatorial passion.  Who cares if they have names!  The dog just thought she must be in trouble for something and that we were probably going to shove her in that cage and allow the ferocious chickbeasts to peck her to death so she has refused to go anywhere near their cage.  That’s just about right, I guess.  Sums up their personalities as well as anything can.

Going to go snuggle with the stinky little chicks again.  Damn, I’m happy.  And if the rain ever stops, I’ll finish building them an outdoor house!

 

Small Things 4-14-14

1.  You knew I was going to post today–right?  Only perfect date this year, I sort of had to.

2.  Had a playdate today with another ‘older, non-traditional mom’.  It’s funny, how we recognize each other, we mommies of a certain age. How the same themes come up, when we trade stories–as we all seem to do almost compulsively, how our children came into our lives. How blessed we feel, how all the pain and ‘failure’ was worth it, since it brought this specific child into our lives. Her son had such a rough start to life, and is blossoming into such a wonderful little boy.  He & Hen are fast friends from gym class, and now I hope they’ll be friends in ‘real life’ too.  And I have hopes for developing a friendship with this woman, it’s like finding a secret sisterhood out there, to meet someone and to have so many shared experiences.

So grateful to be in this place where I can nod and say, “yes, it was awful, but it brought me my son, and otherwise, my life would be different than this–and by definition, it would be less than it is, because this child makes my heart complete”  and mean it with my whole heart, and know someone feels the same way.

3.  A windy spring day today.  Play-date kind of ate up the morning, so the coop didn’t get worked on, so I therefore didn’t feel like I could reward ourselves with going to buy baby chicks.  Perhaps tomorrow, if we get a lot done.  (please read, if I get a lot done while the wee one is in school.  Because his help–while appreciated for the spirit in which it’s offered–makes things go a lot slower!

4.  Just finished a book by Sarah Monette writing as Katherine Addison called The Goblin Emperor, and it was a veyr satisfying read.  She’s a writer I’ve always enjoyed, who does labyrinthine palace intrigue stuff very nicely without settling into over-used tropes.  Anyone looking for a not-too-huge fantasy read, I’d highly recommend this one.

And happily, I was able to find it at a sister library to our own small-town library.  The slightly-larger-next-town-over has a reciprocity agreement with ours, and I’d never before taken advantage of it–but I’ll sure start doing that more often.  MUCH bigger kids section, and a rather nice fantasy/SF section as well.  Also a bit livelier feel to the library, which is nice, since ours can feel a little echo-y sometimes.

5.  Just heard a goose honking as it flew past–at almost 8pm.  It’s dark out there. And the wind is blowing hard enough to make this whole barn creak.  Don’t know what the goose was doing – possibly being blown along by the wind & protesting the rough handling?  I dunno.  Not going outside, just going to continue hoping that the barn doesn’t blow down tonight.  I’ll toss in a good wish for the blown-away goose, too.

Happy 4-14-14, everyone.   May your barns remain standing, your geese remain unmolested, and your reading choices prove satisfying.

 

Small Things 4-6-14

1.  We have a sink hole in our backyard. No, really.  It’s a small one, as such things go. I don’t think it’ll be swallowing the house anytime soon. But at about 3 feet deep & a foot and a half across, my husband nearly broke a leg when he fell through. Very strange.

2.  I’ve been having a problem with going onto specific sites online–ie: any site that MacKeeper advertises on.  And I’m pretty sure they’re loading shit onto my computer, somehow, because it freezes the hell out of my machine. And today, I lost a week’s worth of edits. Most writers would tell you how devastating this can be–because you’re going through the manuscript with a fine-toothed comb, checking for continuity, make sure what they’re talking about here was first introduced there, etc. The thought of losing that work was enough to make me weep.

But, one of the main reasons I work on Scrivener is because it’s constantly backing up. Surely my hard-shut-down would only have lost a few moments of work? (And WHY did I go websurfing without shutting down that program? Why!?) But no. Last save I could find was on March 29.  And my Time Machine program, also seemed to have blinked back to March 29.  Shit.

So instead of curling up in a ball and weeping, I went to seek advice from Dr. Google. Who reminded me that the Library in Mac’s latest OS is hidden. And reminded me how to un-hide it. Whereupon I did so. And found a previous backup that had been hidden in the hidden library.

And then I breathed a deep sigh of relief and told MacKeeper that its nasty, buggy pop-up ads were safe for another day, because tonight wouldn’t be the night I’d be hunting down there server with a bucket of water in hand.

Goddamn buggy ads.  Yeah, I’m talking to you BuzzFeed. Get them off your site.  You too, Salon (or is it Slate?) Damned pop ups.

3.  Guerrilla cleaning for tomorrow’s playdate. I’m nothing if not fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants when it comes to housecleaning.

4.  Did I mention the sinkhole in the backyard? Because honestly, it’s taking up a lot of mindspace right now…

 

Rogan Josh Lamb Curry

Because someone on FB asked for the recipe…

1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp powdered ginger
2 TB sweet paprika
2 tsp chile powder
2 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp ground coriander seed
2 tsp salt1/2 TB cayenne
2# lamb stew meat chunked
1 TB coconut oil
2 med onions, diced
1 C coconut milk
1 1/4 C water

(Cranberry sauce!)
(Plain yogurt!)(Rice!)

Sprinkle meat generously with S & P, tossing to coat.  In a dutch oven, heat coconut oil (I actually went & bought coconut oil for this & I’m glad I did, it really did a nice job browning the meat!) and then sear lamb on all sides.  Add onions & cook til they start to soften.  Mix spices together, and add blend to meat/onion mixture.  Stir for 30 seconds or so to coat. Add coconut milk & water. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 1-2 hours.

Ok, I did a few things different.  I used 1# of lamb, not two, because we like lots of sauce.  I used the whole can of coconut milk, because–hey, coconut milk (& what’re you going to do with 6 extra oz.–right?) I realized right off that this was kind of a one-note wonder of a dish–very very hot.  BUT.  My super-secret trick is that I had about half a batch of homemade cranberry sauce in the fridge.  My mind was thinking ‘tamarind would help this out’, but being fresh out of tamarind & with a bowl of tangy sweet cranberries just sitting there–I added it.  And boring, too-hot lamb curry turned into awesome JUST LIKE THAT.

If you’re like me, you have cranberries stockpiled in the freezer since Thanksgiving–I use the basic one on the back of the berry package–1C water, 1 C sugar, boil for 10 minutes, cool & serve. Easy.  (And if you’ve never done this, it’s the way to go. They’re cheap in November, and they freeze beautifully.) This was good enough in this curry that I’ll ALWAYS make it with this addition from now on.  I had some for lunch this morning over rice, with a dollop of greek yogurt to further tang-ify it up.  This is seriously the best lamb curry I’ve ever made.  Yum!

Small Things 4-1-14

1.  Still collecting sap. And storing sap. And boiling sap.  This year’s syrup is very dark, very flavorful. I love the ‘lower’ grades of syrup, but I suspect all you out there who buy syrup are going to see spikes in the price this year.  It simply isn’t a golden-syrup kind of year, apparently, and that’s most of what gets sold.

(Also, in related news, I’m really tired of boiling.  Very very tired of boiling.)

2.  Had an amazingly bad crick in my neck on the Boy’s birthday.  Like a charley-horse on the side of my neck.  Which made turkey dinner more challenging than it needed to be.  And also made me wonder if I was coming down with meningitis.  Happily, muscle relaxants, heating pad, and a couple of hot showers loosened things up enough that two days later, I’m feeling almost fully functional again (and not at all like I’m in danger of brain damage).  Just don’t ask me to look at anything behind my back.

3.  A friend sold her YA book to Penguin, and I couldn’t be happier for her–and I can’t wait to read it.  Yay for new books! Yay for writers getting their stories out there!  Yay for a new career which I hope will allow her every opportunity to keep writing wonderful things!

4.  My own book edits are coming along, and I think I’ve still got a handle on what the book needs in order to be ready for agent-shopping. I wonder if anyone’s ever done a study on how much one likes one’s computer factoring into the mix for writing effectively? It’s weird. I had my last computer for almost 5 years, and–granted–they were 5 of the hardest years of my life for a multitude of reasons.  But I never felt comfy on that computer when I was writing even though it was a great workhorse of a computer.  It was too big, or too heavy, or the keys felt funny or something. This new computer is smaller, easier to curl up with, for I’m definitely a laptop writer.  So maybe that’s it? I don’t know, but it’s easy to slip into writing mode on it, where it never seemed to be on the previous computer.  Whatever, I’m delighted to be in a writing groove right now.  Long may it last (though my housekeeping is definitely suffering for the minor obsession with getting the words down on the screen NOW!)

5.  Weight loss stalled out because I’m lazy and I like to eat more than I like to move.  This is a truth about myself that cannot be denied.  Also, I have the metabolism of a sloth, not the metabolism of a hummingbird, like my husband & son have.  So, I’m hitching up my too-tight pants and slogging back into diet-hell.  Hoping that I can persuade my lazy self that going for a half-hour walk/jog would be a better use of my time than something else, like writing or cleaning or knitting. But really, I just have to eat less until I’m back down to where I want to be.  Darn it all.