Thursday, March 31, 2011

Grey Day

Cloudy and drizzly and cold and wet. The kind of day where no amount of coffee can wake me up, and where no matter how high I turn up my little office space heater, I'm still shivering.

I want to crawl back into bed and hibernate. Wait, strike that: I want to take a long, hot shower and then crawl into bed and hibernate. I want to eat hot comfort food like oatmeal and mac-and-cheese and tomato soup. I want to sit on the couch with a blanket and a mug of hot coffee and a book.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Something Lighter

Well, yesterday was just a great big cryfest, wasn't it? Ug. File under Things I Should Shut Up About.

So let's try to keep it a bit lighter today, shall we?

Penny asks the weirdest questions. Especially when we're riding in the car and she hasn't got anything else to do but ponder random shit.

"Mom, why can't we have a fox for a pet?" Because we don't keep wild animals as pets. "But what if there was no where else to live?" That doesn't even make sense. If you want to take care of foxes, maybe you can work for a zoo someday. "No, I want to be a police!"

"How many da- How many months until I go to college?" (She usually asks "how many days" it is until some event entirely too far out into the future to count days. I guess this time she realized that it would be a ridiculous number, even for her.) Well, let's see. Ten years left in regular school, so that's 120 months. Plus the... six months between now and when you start the third grade, so 126 months before you start college. Why? "I just wanted to know."

And she's weirdly persuasive, at least to her brother. Last night's conversation
Penny: "I'm going upstairs to play. Alex, you can come with me, if you want to."
Alex: "I'm coming upstairs! I want to play with you!"
Matt, to me: "Our daughter has a bright future in sales."
Me: "Next, I'm looking for her to get him whitewashing a fence."

Alex likes to repeat things. Especially things Penny says, though Matt and I are close seconds. Really, he just wants to talk. A lot.
Alex: "I got pants!"
Me: "Yep, and so do I."
Alex: "And I do, too!"

He likes to help me make dinner in the evenings, though, which is utterly adorable. Of course, his "help" is confined to putting things in a pot and occasionally stirring, and generally makes the process take longer. But it's cute. And I've found that letting him help me increases the probability of his eating it. (Last night, he ate a whole bowl of tortellini soup -- including the zucchini and spinach and onions -- because I'd let him dump things in the pot for me.) And he likes to nibble on the vegetables as we're cooking together. I let him -- if he's going to spoil his appetite for dinner, by all means let it be spoiled because he ate too many veggies, right? He'll eat things standing on the kitchen stool that he would never touch if I put them on a plate in front of him.

He likes to help me make lunches, too, by putting the tops on sandwiches (usually crooked) and counting the rolls of lunchmeat as I put them in Penny's bento box.

So in summary: kids. Totally cute, if sometimes a bit incomprehensible.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Slip Sliding Away

I've been giving some thought to trying to find a therapist again. The therapist I tried before just wanted me to lose weight and improve my sex life and neither of those things were at the root of my problems. I quit seeing her because I was so angry that she seemed to think these things mattered and were not merely symptoms of the real problems.

But even if I found a therapist I could trust, I don't know how much they could do for me. Because I suspect I've kind of got a handle on the root of the problem, and the real difficulty is that I don't really know what to do to fix it.

I mean, it's not really much of a secret that I hate my job.

Looking for a new job isn't much of an answer, because it's a pretty specific hate: I don't hate the office I'm in. I love the people I work with. I love the office location. I love where I am. I just hate what I do. It feels... unnecessary. Un-useful. I spend a lot of time not doing anything at all, and I'm fairly certain that not too many of my co-workers have even noticed. Even when things are hopping and I'm insanely busy, it's a pointless kind of busy. I'm doing paperwork that no one (not even me) gives a shit about or will ever look at again. I could live with the administrivia if there were a balancing element where I really get to feel like I'm doing something that would be missed if I left (aside from, "who the hell is going to do all this paperwork now?")

I hate it. I hate feeling pointless. I hate doing busy-work.

I think about changing careers. I think about it daily. More than daily; I think about it practically every waking hour. But the jobs that actually appeal to me right now (Teaching. Editing. Writing.) would cut my salary by half, or even more than that... and even though I know we could financially make that work, as a family -- not many people would hire someone who's looking to cut their salary to a third of what it currently is. Because honestly, why would someone do that? It looks weird.

And I think about how I'm not exactly a spring chicken. I'm not some kid only a few years out of college, still trying on lots of different jobs while I look for the one that's right for me. I'm nearly 40. I have a family that depends on my salary, including the diabetic who needs the security of two sets of medical insurance, in case (in this crap economy) one suddenly goes away. (Oddly, that weighs on me a lot despite the fact that Penny has never actually been on my medical insurance. She's only covered on Matt's. But the tech industry is prone to random and sudden layoffs, and so I feel it's important for there to be the potential for a second insurance to pick up the slack. Just in case.)

So I'm not young, and changing careers at this point feels just... completely insane. And yet... and yet... I can't retire for at least another 25 years. Twenty. Five. Years. Even if I thought about just waiting until Penny's out of school and out on her own -- that's fourteen or fifteen years, at a minimum. Could I do this for another fifteen or twenty-five years?

I'm not sure I could. The mere thought makes me feel grey and drained and broken.

Some days I actually wish I would get laid off. It would be terrible and stressful and frustrating and... oh so very freeing. But I won't. If this office were to fall apart, I'd probably be among the last 10 people to get shoved out the door, right before they shut the office down entirely. Job security is supposed to feel good.

I feel trapped. I'm running along the edge of a cliff and if my life was the only one at risk, I might be able to shut my eyes and step off into the abyss, but... it's not.

A therapist is not going to be able to tell me how to fix my job so I don't hate it. Or to find a new one without exposing my family to needless risk.

(Another grey and crazy post. I must be PMSing.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weird weekend.

We took the kids out to Outback for dinner Friday night, just because. We hadn't been there since probably before Alex was born, and they did pretty well, except for some whining from Penny early on about the choices I was giving her for side items.

The TV died Friday night. Matt was watching a Netflick and it just turned itself off and wouldn't turn back on. Eventually (by which I mean sometime Saturday) we got our "spare" TV up and running, but it's an LCD that I got from my grandmother that, despite being only two years old, has kind of crappy picture quality. Plus, it's a flatscreen that doesn't fit in our entertainment unit, so making it our primary TV would require a pretty huge rearrangement of the living room. But we'll see; Matt took the old TV to a repair shop, and eventually they'll call to let us know how much it will cost to fix it.

It was not a good weekend for Alex and the potty; he had two accidents Saturday and one Sunday, all three of which were... let's just say "messy" and leave it at that, shall we? But at least he was in relatively chipper spirits.

Sunday afternoon, we took the kids over to Braz's apartment to hang out and play Rock Band. His Wii console was kind of screwed up, so we took ours, and somewhere in the shuffle my Wii Fit Plus disc got lost. I'll have to go back over there sometime this week and look for it; I just can't imagine trying to do my morning workout using the original Wii Fit anymore.

We all went back over to our house for dinner. Had hamburgers and an assortment of sides. The original intent was to grill, but the igniter on our grill is apparently busted, so we broiled instead. Eventually, I guess, we'll find a long-handled lighter to get the grill started. But the burgers all turned out great, and we had a lot of fun sitting around and talking.

Matt and I wound up the evening watching the last couple of episodes of the first season of Veronica Mars on Netflix. (I am so hitting the 'net when I get a chance; I just want to know how I'm supposed to feel about certain characters, and I don't care about the spoilers!)

And then, just before I went to bed, I decided to check my email one last time, and was glad that I did: waiting for me was an email from Torquere, accepting the story I'd sent in a couple of weeks ago, whoo!

Like I said, weird weekend. Lots of ups and downs. I'm almost more tired than I was Friday.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Feeling kind of blah today.

Not sick. Just blah. Don't want to do anything. Don't want to go anywhere. Don't want to sleep, even. Just want to sit and vegetate. If I called it meditating, would that make it more profound and less blah?

Probably not. I don't think I'd be really getting anywhere deeper into my own head, or being able to quiet the constant riot of thoughts.

Nothing on the schedule for this weekend, really. Which doesn't mean we won't do anything, just that we won't know what we're doing until we do it.

Boring blog entry today. Sorry about that. I'm just blah.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Playing Possum

Penny and I usually get to her school a few minutes before we need to be there. We usually sit in the car, listening to music and talking about random subjects, until it's time to head into the building.

This morning, I was checking the calendar on my phone for something when a movement caught my eye, and I looked up. And there, walking calmly down the grassy strip that separates the school parking lot from the main road, less than twenty feet from us, was an opossum. A big white one, around the size of a small dog (or a particularly large cat, like ours).

Opossums are nocturnal creatures; I've never seen one during the day except in zoos. I'm not sure I've ever seen one at all that was this big. It didn't seem particularly disturbed by the cars driving by; it just kept walking along in the grass, its tail held out stiff behind it.

Penny and I watched until it had gone too far to keep track of. I don't know where it went when it reached the end of the grass strip -- did it run across the road? Or was its home in one of the trees there? Penny speculated on whether it was a boy or girl. She theorized that it was out in the daytime (she'd known before I said anything that they were nocturnal) because it had forgotten to bring food for its babies. Not knowing any reason why a possum would be out in the daytime, I didn't try to argue with this theory.

It was, in all honesty, kind of cool.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I rolled out of bed with the alarm this morning, like usual. Half-asleep, I went through the usual morning ritual. I was brushing my teeth when a wave of nausea swamped me. I rinsed out the toothpaste as fast as I could and sat down on the toilet to breathe. A moment later, still queasy, I thought it might be prudent to sit on the side of the tub instead. Just in case.

I didn't throw up, but it was a few minutes before I was able to stand up and leave the room. I decided to skip my morning workout. I'm not regretting that decision, either, because I spent the whole rest of the morning feeling... not quite nauseous, but a little wobbly, like I could be nauseous any second.

Matt was trying to talk me into calling in sick, but I'm still scraping together vacation time so I can go to Mexico in August and Chicago in December without violating my emergency buffer. I don't want to take time off unless I'm actually sick.

I'm feeling a little better now, though. I'm not sure if I'll be attempting the gym at lunchtime, but at least the thought of eating breakfast isn't making me queasy. It's supposed to be a really nice day, so maybe I'll just change my shoes and walk around the office park a couple of times. At least then if I take a turn for the worse, I can short-cut back to the office fairly quickly.


Matt reminded me last night that our anniversary is in a little less than a month. (He got a real kick out of it, too, because I had completely forgotten, and when he mentioned it, I went into a bug-eyed flailex maneuver for a while.)

Once I'd recovered and dusted off my dignity, I looked at the calendar, hoping to spot a convenient day for us to tag some friends to babysit so we could have a nice evening out together.

Alas. Our anniversary is on a Monday. The weekend immediately preceding is already booked (and possibly even double-booked). The weekend before that is booked. The weekend after our anniversary is Easter, so... kind of booked.

So we're thinking we'll probably just end up taking a day off from work together, which we've done before. But that doesn't settle the question of what we'll do. Gotta be something that we can be done with and home by 2:30 or 3 so we can pick Penny up from school. Want it to be something a little unusual so we're not just frittering the day away on reading and WoW. The last time we did this, we went to Busch Gardens, but that was when Penny was in preschool and could stay at daycare until 4 or 5.

Suggestions or ideas welcome...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


My throat hurts.

I'm not sure whether the prime culprit is the allergies or the yelling at Miss Argues With Everything.

(No, seriously. The morning involved this conversation: "I swear, Penny, if you don't stop with the attitude and the arguing, I am going to tape your mouth shut." "There isn't any tape in the car." Having already been goaded to the point of threats, where else was I supposed to go except yelling?)

Can I get a do-over on the day?


I keep my assorted doctor's appointment cards taped to my printer at work. Right now, there are appointments for March 22, April 21, and June 22. Apparently, I need to make an appointment for May 21 or 22, just to keep the pattern solid.


I bought Joey Comeau's latest book last week but I haven't started reading it yet. Because Joey's style is so strong that I'm afraid it will take me over and I'll end up writing like him for a while. And while I love his writing, it doesn't match mine, and it would make whatever I write feel odd, when it's done, with my usual style rolling along and suddenly a patch of this terse, reflective prose populated by brilliantly dysfunctional characters... It would be weird. So I've got the book and I'm reading the individual pieces he's posting on his blog.

Which is a little weird. Which, I can't help but think, makes me more or less Joey's perfect audience.

Monday, March 21, 2011


It's a chilly morning, and in the hour it took me to take the kids to school and get to work, it went from a standard fairly cloudy spring morning to nightfall-dark with an incoming thunderstorm. I missed having to run through the rain by less than five minutes.

Something about it getting darker just shut down my system. I can't stop yawning now.

And there's not a lot of work on the plate for this week, which doesn't exactly inspire me to jump in with both feet. Maybe when I hit the gym later it will get blood moving back into my brain, but for now, all I want to do is curl up and take a nap.


It was a nice, calm weekend. Poor Jess woke up Saturday morning with a stomach bug, so the sleepover had to be canceled. So we wound up, uncharacteristically, spending the whole weekend to ourselves, pretty much.

We took the kids to the movies on Saturday -- we saw Rango, which looked cute. It turned out to be the kind of animated movie that's geared more toward adults, or at least older kids. Penny complained on the way home that we'd promised it was a funny movie, and it hadn't been -- and she was right; there wasn't much funny about it if you weren't already familiar with westerns and their tropes.

But at least it got us out of the house. And! We hedged our bets and put Alex in a pullup for it, because we really didn't think we could rely on him to go a solid two hours without going to the bathroom, but when we got home and had him go potty, the pullup was still dry! (It's a good thing I didn't get us a soda to go with the popcorn, though, I expect.)

In fact, barring naptimes and overnights, Alex stayed dry all weekend! Whoo!!

KT dropped by for a couple of hours Saturday evening on her way back home from Richmond, and we had a nice chat.

We didn't do much of anything on Sunday -- the usual chores and errands, really -- and it turned out to be nice just to hang out and relax. Alex spent some time hanging out on our porch with a four-year-old from a couple of houses down the street (I didn't catch the kid's name) and Penny was in and out playing with Ray.

That's about it. Quiet weekend, sleepy day.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bzz Bzz

Busy as bees, we are.

I've got a software delivery today at work. Also, I'm meeting Matt and Adin for lunch. (Need to research nutrition info before I go...)

Tomorrow afternoon, Jess is coming over to spend the night with Penny.

We're still riding herd on Alex and the potty training. (He's great as long as we remind him to go every half-hour or 45 minutes, but if we don't, he ignores it until it's too late.)

We're two weeks from Penny's spring break, which is when I was thinking would be a good time for Matt and I to take her over to the courthouse to apply for her passport, but that means I need to get a move on with the downloading the form and making sure I know where all the assorted papers are.

Also, I need to verify with the daycare that they're good to take her that week.

I've got several checks I need to deposit and/or cash, so I need to go to the bank in the worst way.

I'm working on a story but it hasn't quite clicked for me yet, so I'm dragging words out that I suspect are going to be deleted later. Knowing that doesn't make it any easier to drag them out, either. (But at least the editing is at a lull at the moment -- only one story in that queue, and it's not due until May.)

I've got 10 emails in my personal Inbox which require some sort of response or action from me, and 3 in my work Inbox. (For obvious reasons, I stay a little more on top of the work email.)

If my schedule gets much more crowded, I'm going to need to start charting time to breathe.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Touch of the Green

Penny slipped down the stairs this morning before she got dressed, while I was still doing my morning yoga on the Wii Fit. "Do we still have school today?"

"Um, yes. Why wouldn't we?"

"Because it's a holiday?"

"It's not that kind of holiday, hon. Get dressed."


Matt is doing the WatchDOGS program at Penny's school today. He came downstairs in jeans and his WatchDOGS t-shirt, which is white and purple and (I think) yellow, but has no green.

Penny immediately started threatening to pinch and poke him, and was egging Alex on, as well.

He managed to stave them off by promising a retaliatory zerbert, but it occurred to me that he was going to be spending an entire day at the school, surrounded by kids in green with no idea at all what the real symbolism was, only "the rules" that promise anyone lacking green a pinch.

So I loaned him my green nail polish, and he painted one fingernail, to ward off the pinchers.


I'm wearing plenty of green, myself. (Shirt, scarf, necklace, earrings, nail polish. And my socks have little shamrocks on them.) Why not? It's one of my favorite colors.


Yesterday was crazy. Tomorrow will be crazy. Today, thankfully, promises to be fairly slow. Which is good, because I've got an appointment with the boob-masher this afternoon, and then we're going over to Adin's for dinner, and if I have time between those two things, I want to make some soup.


Yep, kind of fragmented blog post this morning. That's just how my brain is(n't) working today.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wedded Bliss

Penny spent a lot of time this weekend drawing pictures of people getting married.

The sweetest one was for Matt and I. She's never seen pictures of our wedding, but apparently she's seen or read enough of weddings to imagine it. (Though she hasn't quite caught on to all the symbolism. She asked me, "What color was your dress?" and when I told her it was white, she said, "Oh. I'm going to give it some color.") I'm particularly fond of the chandeliers in all three pictures.

And then she drew a couple of pictures about a couple who were in love but the prince did not want to get married, so the princess locked him up and made him marry her. Which... I swear, I do not know where she gets these ideas. Should I be paying closer attention to the stories Matt's telling her at bedtime?

The big boxy thing on the right is a foreground shot of the wedding cake.

Now the cake is just off to the side, but it's got a new topper with their initials on it. (She remembered that S and H were their initials, but not what their names were, when I was asking her about the picture.) The red thing over the prince's hand is a box or a glove or something to keep him from drawing his sword. (Why the princess was clever enough to anticipate the prince getting his hand free, but dumb enough to leave him with his sword, I'm not sure.)

I have to hope the prince's reluctance is the result of a spell or curse or something, because otherwise, I suspect this princess is doomed to become a statistic -- either for divorce or domestic homicide. (Penny was very specific that the prince and the princess loved each other; she just wasn't as clear about why the prince didn't want to get married.)

Ahh, imagination.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Pretty danged good weekend, if I do say so!

We'd told Penny she could have Ripley over for a sleepover Friday night, so Braz and Adin and Ripley and Henry came over to have dinner with us and hang out. We ordered out Chinese (there's a combo Chinese/sushi place that delivers -- how does it get more awesome than that?) and put all four kids to bed, and sat up talking and watching Netflix until Adin started falling asleep in her chair. When they left, they took Henry with them but left Ripley sleeping in Penny's room.

The girls were up at 5:30 Saturday morning; I went in a couple of times to ask them to be quieter, then gave up and got up at 6:30 when I heard Alex was awake as well. But aside from being AWAKE! they were all really good, playing together happily all morning.

That afternoon, Penny and I went with Adin and Ripley up to Richmond for a semi-annual craft show that's a big tradition for Adin and her mom and sisters. It was a lot of fun (even though Ripley crammed in enough junk food to make herself throw up) and I definitely want to go back again! Penny bought herself a couple of princess hats and a necklace, and I bought her a pretty bracelet. I got myself a jewelry rack to replace the cork board and thumbtack solution I'm using now.

In the meantime, Matt and Alex hung out with Braz and Henry, and by all accounts, they had a good time, too. (Amusing anecdote of the afternoon: Henry pushed Alex. Alex gave Henry a Look and forearmed him. Henry gave Alex a Look and punched him. That was the point at which Braz stepped in to halt the escalation, but he said the whole thing was actually really funny and he had a hard time not letting the boys see him laughing.)

Matt left for his monthly D&D game before we girls got back, but Braz promised that Alex and Henry together had been perfectly fine for the hour or so he had them solo. We all ate dinner together again (mm, leftovers) and hung out until well past 8, when I finally decided I had to get the kids home and to bed.

Sunday, despite having gone to bed an hour or more late, the kids were up early. Even without considering the Daylight Savings time change. UG. Matt hadn't come home until 1:30 or 2, so I got up with the kids, but Matt didn't sleep much longer. My back and hip were hurting from all the walking at the craft fair, and on top of being short of sleep, I was pretty grumpy, so when Alex went down for his nap, I took one, too.

After Alex got up from his nap, he and Matt went out to the park while I stayed home to make lasagna for dinner. Braz and Adin and crew came over to have dinner with us, but since it was a school night, they couldn't stay much later, and we pried all the kids apart amid much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Alex was in underwear all weekend again, and only had one accident! Granted, Matt and I stayed pretty much on top of him to go to the potty a lot, but I'm still pretty excited about it. The connection was finally made in his brain, too, about the reward he gets for going poo in the potty (2 whole M&Ms!) and so now every time he goes, he tries to squeeze out a nugget. It's hysterical.

I'm still pretty tired and sore -- it'll take me a few days to adjust to the stupid time change -- but overall, it was a really great weekend.

This week at work looks like it's going to be insanely busy, though, so if I end up skipping a day (especially Wednesday) don't panic! I'll be back! ;-)

Friday, March 11, 2011


If I haven't mentioned it recently, let me do so now: I am incredibly grateful that Penny and Alex like each other. My brother and I loathed each other, mostly, from the time he made his appearance until we were both in high school, so I know whereof I speak: I am insanely lucky.

In the mornings, when I'm driving Alex to daycare, the two of them play together. Lately, they've been playing with the puppy stuffies that I gave them for Valentine's Day. (They're identical in shape; Penny's is white and has a purple bow on its head, while Alex's is brown and has a red collar.) Alex's puppy is his new favorite toy -- he even takes it to bed with him, and he's been extremely reluctant to change anything about his bedtime routine up until now.

Penny's not as deeply attached to her puppy, but they both bring their puppies in the car for the morning commute, and pretend the puppies are their children. It's cute play, and I appreciate that it mostly lets me concentrate on traffic and my own thoughts. Of course, since the puppies call Penny "Mama" and speak with the voices of my children, at least once a drive I find myself saying, "Yes, what is it?" and being told that no one was talking to me. Which they find pretty funny.

Of course, Alex is potty training and Penny is a 2nd grader, which leads to a certain regrettable lowest common denominator in what they find funny. For a few days, the puppies were having numerous "accidents" (and being rather harshly scolded) and the kids were immensely enjoying making what I can only describe as graphic potty noises. Late last week, they were announcing they had to go to the bathroom about every ten seconds and receiving potty rewards (but still getting a lot of giggles out of the potty noises).

Yesterday, out of nowhere, Alex made his puppy say, "I lost my penis!" Both kids found this insanely funny. As soon as the laughter began to die, Penny picked up the theme: "I lost my butt!" Screams of laughter. It continued nearly halfway to the daycare. "I lost my underwear!" "I lost my panties!"

They did it again today.

I'm trying to be more or less tolerant. There's a reason it's called "juvenile" humor, after all, and 3 and 7 is about as juvenile as they come. So I only step in when they start getting too loud, and let the "jokes" of questionable taste fly.

But I never thought I'd be looking forward to "What's grosser than gross?" jokes as an intellectual advancement.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lame Meme Post

So here's the deal: I've got (at last check) 5 status reports and 2 software deliveries to make today, which is an insane amount of paperwork and shit for me to do, and the software deliveries have to be done by 3 in the afternoon to make their assorted deadlines, and...

So I'm just busy. So here's a lame meme I spotted yesterday and put together in advance for you. I'm sorry about having No Real Content today, but apparently my job knows when I'm whining about it, and punishes me. I'll try to say something real tomorrow.

The ABCs of Me:
Age: Far too close to 40 for comfort.
Bed size: Queen.
Chore you hate: Cleaning the bathroom.
Dogs: In my life? 1. Right now? 0.
Essential start of your day: Coffee
Favorite color: emerald green and electric blue.
Gold or silver: Hey, if you're going to give me jewelry, who am I to complain about the metal?
Height: 5'4"
Instruments I play (or have played): the piano. Many, many years ago.
Job title: QA/CM Manager
Kids: Penny and Alex (duh)
Live: Eh, I prefer recorded so I can skip the commercials.
Mom's name: Alma. Yes, seriously. When we're down South visiting her family, it's Alma Lee.
Nickname: Liz. KT calls me Lizzie, but she's the only one allowed.
Overnight hospital stays: Both kids were hospital born, but other than that, the only overnight I had was when I had my tonsils out at 3.
Pet peeve: I have many, many peeves, starting with the crinkle of plastic bags and going right on to the pronunciation of "nuclear."
Quote from a movie: ...Just one quote? That's all I get? Crap. Um... "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." (Inigo, from The Princess Bride)
Right or left handed: Right
Siblings: 1 brother (John), and a 5 siblings-in-law (John's wife Sam, and Matt's brother and sister and their spouses.)
Time you wake up: During the week, about 6:10. On Saturdays, usually 7. On Sundays, usually about 8:30.
Underwear: cotton, but cute.
Vegetable you dislike: Peppers.
What makes you run late: My own lack of organization and overpacked schedule, but I like to blame it on the kids. Shh, don't tell anyone.
X-rays you have had done: feet, back, wrist, finger, knees, teeth... Oh, and boobs. Can't forget the bi-annual boobmashing.
Yummy food you make: All the food I make is yummy, and Matt will corroborate this (or at least, he will if he wants to eat tonight.) ;-)
Zoo animal: Tigers and lions and other big cats.Also, monkeys. Everyone loves monkeys.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I work for a living.

It's an odd phrase, isn't it? "For a living."

I work for money. I work so that I have money to pay for my family to have a place to live and food to eat and clothes to wear. I work so that I have money to buy fun things to do when I'm not working.

I work so that when I'm not working, I can live.

It would actually be pretty cool if, all the time I was working, I actually wasn't living? Like, my body would go into some sort of stasis, and I wouldn't age. So that I would get all the "living" that was coming to me.

This is why people talk about doing what they love for their work. Because you spend a ridiculous amount of your time working instead of living. So working might as well be living. Or at least some portion of it. Right?

I wish I could figure out how to make the things I love into enough money that I could do that. I could take a pretty big pay cut, pretty happily, if I could love my job.

But so far, it's not possible. So I'm still working for a living.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I signed up a few weeks ago for Penny and I to attend a camp for diabetic kids at the end of April. It's a weekend camp, and I thought it might be fun for her.

The paperwork came in yesterday, and among the expected information forms and doctor's orders items is a medical treatment release form... that has to be effing notarized.

Seriously? Seriously. Notarized. Even though I'm going to be there with her the whole time, able to give parental consent to whatever medical treatment may turn out to be necessary.

Oh, and the instructions that came with the forms said something to the effect of, "because we've had trouble getting these back on time, consider them due immediately." And all I could think was, well, no wonder you've had trouble getting them back on time, if you're insisting on notarization.

What. The. Fuck. People?

I haven't had to have anything notarized since I changed my name after I got married.

Where the fuck am I going to find a notary public that doesn't require taking half a day off work to go stand in line? (Which is what I had to do after I got married.)

Argh. If I hadn't already paid for this, I might wonder if it was going to be worth the hassle.

Monday, March 7, 2011


So, pretty good weekend. Had a nice, if brief, visit with Vicki on Friday; enjoyed visiting with my brother-in-law and his wife on Saturday and Sunday (I got new book recommendations from them, so whoo!), took Penny to a birthday party on Sunday, and then spent an hour or so with Braz and Adin and gang Sunday night.

Of course, the birthday party involved not only cake but pizza and chips, so Penny's blood sugars kept sliding high last night and this morning, and I expect them to continue to do so for the rest of today. Stupid pizza. But she only gets it occasionally, so it's something to just live with, really. If I'd thought about it, I'd have suggested that Matt increase her Lantus (long-term insulin) dosage for the day, just to help counteract the Pizza Effect, but I didn't think of it, so it's too late now. We'll just end up giving her a lot of corrections.

And I managed to finish the read-through on my story Friday evening, so I got it out to my beta readers before the weekend, which turned out to be a good thing, as two of them responded that their weekends were shaping up to have plenty of time for reading. (I even got comments back from one of them Sunday night, though she didn't have a lot to say.)

In the meantime, I played some WoW, did some reading, and tried to jot down notes on a new story plot, though I'm kind of getting hung up on some of the details -- do I go for the more complex twists and try for a novel, or take the simpler route and stick to my preferred novella length? (It's going to make a difference fairly early in the story, so to avoid massive amounts of unnecessary rewriting, I'd like to decide on this now.) I'm also not sure how I'm going to resolve the B plot without resorting to the sort of deus-ex-machina trickery I despise.

So... I'm pondering. Jotting notes. Drawing plot trees. That kind of thing.

I may be on tap to go up to DC/NoVA later this month for a three or four day stretch, so maybe those evenings will be good for writing. Take me out of my comfort zone (literally) and help me think outside the box. (The good news about going to DC as opposed to some of the other places they might send me is that it's close enough to drive, which means I don't have to be quite as restrictive with my luggage as I would if I were flying, and I can bring both the work laptop and my Mac.)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Deux

Yesterday really felt like a Friday. I went out to lunch, then wandered into Bath and Body Works to pick up some new shower gel (and left, naturally, with more than I'd planned to buy -- but! sparkles!) and we got all the work stuff out of the way, and just as I was thinking, "Ah, what a nice start to the weekend," I realized that I had to come back to work the next day.


But! I finished the rough draft of the story I've been working on for the last six weeks, and put out the call for beta readers! (And even got a couple of volunteers already, which is nice -- the more beta readers I can get, the better the overall feedback. If multiple people complain about the same thing, it's more likely to be an actual problem and not just one person's hangup.)

So I'll be doing my own final read-through in the next couple of days (depending on how much interruption the weekend's social activities provide) and then sending it to a few people for comments, and hopefully within the next few weeks I'll be able to toss it over the fence as an actual submission.

Which means I need to figure out what my next project will be. As I was falling asleep last night, I had a notion to radically re-work another story I've started and stopped on several times. I'm thinking of throwing away the entire core situation -- it was a little too contrived and required way too much setup -- and starting over with something more organic. I think it could work; I'll start making notes today before I forget about it.

So, here I am. It's Friday. (Again, says my brain.)


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Loading Up

Lots to do, lots to do.

Work has been unexpectedly busy, and it looks like it will remain so for the next couple of weeks. That's good, mind you -- I get nervous if we're too slow for too long.

I've got lots to do at home, too. I'm trying to clean up a story so I can submit it; I'm considering what my next writing project will be; I've got 3 big proofreading projects in the queue (apparently I've acquired something of a reputation with TQ's primary editors as being the proofer to call on when schedules get tight). I still need to finish our taxes and send that off (though since we owe, I'm not in a big hurry to do that). I've got several appointments to make that I keep procrastinating on. Penny wants me to fix a hole in her blanket, and I haven't touched my scrapbooking stuff in months -- I'm still not even halfway through 2010.

Social life is burgeoning at the moment, too -- I'm meeting Matt for lunch today, we're having Vicki over for dinner tomorrow (I swear to god, every time Penny sees "chili" on the menu, she thinks it has to be served with a side order of Vicki), and Matt's brother and sister-in-law are coming down to visit us over the weekend. Oh, and Penny has a birthday party on Sunday that I really really really need to remember to RSVP for tonight. And I still haven't ordered the book for this month's book club. (Hoping it will not be one of the stupid books that is cheaper in paperback than on Kindle...)

It's all good stuff, it's just crazybusy. I may get to the end of the month and need to spend a few days locked in the bedroom pretending to be a lump.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nothing Like

There's nothing like having not one, not two, but three emergency software releases in the space of one week.

There's nothing like having editing deadlines closing in fast.

There's nothing like finishing a story and then trying to figure out how to retool it so it doesn't suck.

There's nothing like a child who goes through a fairly excessive gagging routine every time she takes the antibiotic she's on, then spends the rest of the morning dragging her feet and whining about an upset stomach.

(There's nothing like having to decide whether the child is merely malingering or actually ill, and then spending the rest of the day second-guessing yourself.)

There's nothing like another child who feels the need to collapse into sobbing fits multiple times a day over such life-altering events as being told to put on a shirt, or that we're having rice with dinner. (I think he's trying to confound us by having his Terrible Twos at three.)

There's nothing like a call from the new boss (thanks to Yet Another Corporate Re-organization) to "check in" and hint that he's going to be a lot more hands-on than the old boss, effectively upping my workload.

There's nothing like my life.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Alex had another perfect potty day yesterday! As they get more frequent, I'm sure I'll stop mentioning them. But for the time being, it's pretty awesome that he's doing so well. I can see the light at the end of the diaper tunnel.
He actually argued with me, this weekend, when I wanted to put him in a pullup for his nap. They've quit using pullups for him at daycare entirely, and he was determined to stay in his big boy underpants for his nap at home, too. What I couldn't make him understand is that, at daycare, he's on a cot, and if he needs to get up and go to the bathroom, he can. But at home, he's still in a crib that he can't climb out of without help, and the bathroom is farther away.

But I expect we'll need to graduate him to a big boy bed (or at least take the side off the crib) sometime in the next month or so, to let him attend to his own bathroom business.


I did the taxes over the weekend, finally. (I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out how to declare the $400 I made in royalties and for my editing side-job.) Then, because the math worked out to us owing instead of getting a refund, I pulled out last year's taxes and compared them, just to make sure I hadn't forgotten something. But the upshot is that last year's raises (pitiful though they were), combined with a big drop in our mortgage interest, put us into a new tax bracket. So yeah, we're owing a fairly large chunk of taxes. Ow.

But I admit that it's a problem that stems from good things, not bad ones. What am I going to do, cry because we make more money than we used to and owe less on our house? How dumb would that be? It's just one of those things that's a problem because we weren't expecting it. Guess I need to start doing some voluntary extra withholding.

The good news is that we hit the highest tax bracket for the state before we even got married (pretty much anyone employed full-time and making more than minimum wage is in the highest tax bracket for Virginia) so I can hope we'll still get a refund back from our state taxes. It won't be enough to cover what we owe the feds, but it'll put a dent in it, at least.


Not much else to say today. I want to go back to bed for another couple of hours, and then wake up and read for a while, and then go back to bed.

Given the ache in my neck, I think I have just a touch of a cold. Not enough to make me burn my precious vacation time to call in sick, not enough to even make me feel particularly bad. Just an ache in my neck and persistent tiredness.

Ah, well.