Monday, October 29, 2012

Boy's Got Brains

On Friday, with Frankenstorm and the possibility of days of power outage looming, I printed out some worksheets for my kids, to keep them occupied for a short while.

This morning after breakfast, even though we still have power (so far), Alex pounced on his stack of worksheets with glee. There are a couple of things I'd like to share with you about that experience.

Alex and I got up just a smidge before seven; it's currently 7:40. Which means he ate breakfast and worked through his sheets in less than 45 minutes.

Before he ate breakfast, I helped him design the face for his jack-o-lantern, since I'll probably be carving it while he's at his dad's. At the bottom, I wrote "Alex's pumpkin" just so I wouldn't accidentally throw it away. He said, "What's that?" and I challenged him to sound it out. The possessive on his name didn't throw him at all. Then he looked at "pumpkin" and said, "Pum. Pump? And kin. Pump. kin. ...Pumpkin! It says 'Alex's pumpkin'!" That's right. My four-year-old is sounding out two-syllable words. With encouragement, but no actual help.

Two of the sheets involved identifying a picture and then drawing a line from it to one of three letters identifying its first letter. He needed some help figuring out what some of the pictures were -- there was a mole, which he didn't know, and a canister vacuum (he's only ever seen uprights) -- but once I'd told him what the thing was, he didn't hesitate for even a second in identifying their starting letter.

The sheet I thought he might have a hard time was in identifying not the starting sound of a word, but its vowel sound. It showed three pictures, and all the letters for the word except the vowel sound. The first one was "bat", and he filled in the A without much hesitation. The second one was "cat", and that went just as fast, because he knows about rhyming. The third one was "witch", which is a much more difficult word to read, but Alex apparently had no trouble completely ignoring the whole "tch" confusion and focusing on the actual problem of figuring out the sound. It took him a little longer than the first two, and he wasn't as certain of his answer, but it still didn't take him nearly as long as I'd expected before he looked up at me and said, "...I?"

And a final observation: After he finished his worksheets, he went straight to the computer and loaded up an educational website. While I've been writing this and helping Penny with her sheets, he's played some time-telling games, some sorting games, and some counting games.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Huh. So apparently there's a hurricane on the way.

At the end of freaking October? I know technically hurricane season runs into November, but seriously, we usually don't see anything serious past mid-September. And this one is expected to be made worse by running into some incoming winter weather systems. Seriously, WTF, world?

It's turning into one of those good news/bad news rundowns, honestly.

Good news: Current projected timing for it suggests that it won't cancel my party tomorrow. Bad news: It may well completely eff up Hallowe'en.

Good news: If I lose power for a week, it won't be swelteringly hot. Bad news: Those cold showers are going to doubleplus suck.

Well, let's end it on some good news: I have a bunch of books I've been meaning to get caught up on.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Holy Crap

Has it really been over a week since I last posted here?

Bad blogger! Bad, bad, bad!

So, um, short summary of the last ten days, then...

Let's see, that weekend, I went to Busch Gardens with the kids to see Howl-o-scream and celebrate Jess' birthday; that was mostly pretty fun, though by the time we wrapped up, I was really wishing I'd brought a sweatshirt along.

Then last week, I got to celebrate another book release -- Seductress: Erotic Tales of Immortal Desire, which contains my short story "Succubus, Inc." (Also available in print!)

I had a very busy weekend -- on Friday, Elizabeth came over and we had pizza and watched the first couple episodes of the new Doctor Who. Yes, I've finally taken that plunge. I'm not hooked enough (yet?) to watch an entire season's worth of episodes in a sitting or anything, but it's definitely on my list of things to do when I have a quiet evening.

Saturday, I drove up to Jenn and Brian's for the afternoon and evening. They showed me the first episode of Sherlock (apparently my theme for the weekend was BBC shows) and I returned the favor by introducing Jenn to Vlogbrothers and Crash Course and all other things Nerdfighter. (And yes, I quite liked Sherlock, too, and I will be getting caught up on it ASAP.)

And then I was up early Sunday morning to meet Vicki in Colonial Williamsburg to take some photos of her for her burgeoning photography business. I have to say, I was quite pleased with how some of them turned out. (In exchange, she's going to do my family Christmas portraits for me so I don't have to do a lot of running back and forth with the timer on the camera.)

And then yesterday, I had the best writing/editing day EVAR. (Seriously. I'm going to be a guest at a con!)

In the meantime, I'm planning a small, all-ages Hallowe'en party for this Saturday, and an equally small, but adult-ladies-only Pure Romance party for next Saturday. (Interested? Drop me a line!) I'm going to a painting-and-social thing tomorrow night (yay, Groupon). I'm working on editing an anthology that will be coming out in January, and doing some other editing work as well, and I'm trying to squeeze in some time for actual writing from time to time, too.

Mentally/emotionally, I've been doing okay. There are ups and downs, but lately there are more ups. It helps that I've been doing and planning fun things with people I enjoy, and finding constructive ways to occupy myself when I'm alone. (Yes, like watching Crash Course videos. It is not possible to be depressed when there are cute, smart, funny guys teach me about science and history!)

So that pretty well catches us up, I think. Sorry to have flaked out on you all -- I promise to try to do better!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I went down to KT's for dinner last night. She made stuffed shells and breadsticks, and I brought tiramisu for dessert.

It was nice. Kevin wasn't there -- he's on a short business trip -- but I got to see Jess a little, and KT and I got to talk for several hours, which is something we don't get to do much of anymore, these days. I miss being able to randomly hang out on IRC and chat, especially now that it takes about an hour and a half -- each way -- to go see each other in person.

But maybe, now that I've got weeknights where I don't have to worry about getting kids to bed on time, I'll make a date to go down there once a month or something, because it made for a nice break in the routine, and it was good not to have to figure out how to make dinner for one.

I came home with a couple of books to read and their Hunger Games DVD so I can finally watch that, having missed it in the theaters.


I'm giving some thought to throwing a Hallowe'en party. Nothing elaborate, just an afternoon thing (so as to be kid-friendly) with snacks and drinks and an excuse to wear costumes.

What do y'all think?


Of course, I'm also giving some thought to giving myself a short vacation after the holidays (or maybe over New Year's?). Nothing fancy -- a long weekend, probably, just to go somewhere I've never been before or do something I've never done before. Exactly where or what, I'm not sure. Feel free to offer up some suggestions.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Doing a bit better today. Having the kids around helps. Even when they're making me crazy, it's hard to be morose and self-pitying when Alex is discoursing on how apples grow on trees or how he plans to grow up to be a superhero; or Penny is demanding to know what my favorite Greco-Roman god is and angling for me to buy her some "real" jewels. It's hard to maintain a sense of despair when I'm busy helping Alex write love notes to his sister ("I LOVE U RPENNY FROM ALEX") or reading Harry Potter to Penny.

(Of course, it's also harder to get a decent night's sleep, between going in to check Penny's blood sugar at 10 and finding her still awake, frantically scribbling in her new diary; and Alex waking up at 5:30 with a "bad dream" about being back in Cancun and missing his friends from school.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rainy and Grey

I didn't get to the Fall Festival on Sunday, mostly because the weather turned cold and rainy, and between that and my cough still not being completely gone yet and the mood I was in, I decided to just stay home.

Mood... yeah.

By all accounts, the weekend went pretty well. I went to the thirty-one party with Elizabeth and KT on Friday, and afterward we went out to dinner at Corner Pocket. Small hiccup when we got there and realized I'd left my purse at the party, so Elizabeth and I had to leave KT sitting there by herself for fifteen or twenty minutes while we ran back to get it, but after that, we had a lovely time, and then KT and I went back to the house and sat and talked for a while longer.

Saturday, I did some more decorating in the dining room, then discovered that the Blu-Ray player would, in fact, play the MP4s of Big Bang Theory that Elizabeth had burned for me after she'd heard I hadn't seen the first couple of seasons, so I started watching those.

Then my date came over -- he made dinner for me while we watched Avengers, and after we ate, we went over to Braz's to play Cards Against Humanity with him and his new girlfriend, Megan. That went really great -- we played down the entire deck of black cards, and laughed ourselves silly.

I got up Sunday morning, went to the store, then came home and decided the weather really wasn't going to make the Fall Festival anything like enjoyable, so I put the BBT disc back in and started up a marathon.

Somewhere around lunchtime, I fell into a funk, and by mid-afternoon, it had progressed to the point where every time I wasn't actively watching something funny, I'd start crying. Immediately. Like, if I paused it to go to the bathroom.

I don't have PMS to blame it on this time, even. The funk is still with me today, and I'm only really staving off tears because work is going to be insanely busy this week, plus I just got ten stories of various lengths (from 5,000 words to over 30,000) to evaluate for inclusion in the anthology I'm editing, so I've got plenty to keep myself occupied. And even all that is only barely holding tears at bay. So... I guess the denial phase is about up, and it's time for the much less attractive (but possibly less creepy) bargaining/depression phases.

I think it's pretty clear that I'm not as ready to move on as I thought I was. So I've shut down my profile on the dating site, and sent an email breaking things off with the guy I'd dated a couple of times. I feel bad for hurting him, but I can't think of anything less fair than subjecting someone else -- especially a potential romantic interest -- to my current mercurial state of mind.

I may be scarce here on the blog for a while again, because there's only so many times I can whinge about being scared and lonely and scared of being lonely before it gets tedious for even me.

And also, as I mentioned, I'm insanely busy with boring, un-bloggable work stuff and less boring, but still mostly un-bloggable, editing stuff.

But I'll try to pop in now and then with some kid anecdotes to keep things light.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Bit better today. Still a little sleepy, but Alex didn't have any troubles during the night, and both kids had a good morning, so that helps.

I quizzed Penny last night off a worksheet in preparation for a class quiz today, and she did so well that I let her postpone taking her shower for a little while so she could help me get out the Hallowe'en decorations. The kids greeted the decorations like old friends -- especially their giant squishy bat pillows that I'd bought them last year. And Alex dove immediately into the books.

This morning, they just about flipped out altogether when they learned that I'd bought a box of Count Chocula cereal. (I'd run to Target on a quick errand, and the Chocula, Booberry, and Frankenberry cereals were all right there by the register. Out of curiosity, I checked the carbs, and they're actually not much worse than Fruit Loops, and significantly less carby than the raisin nut bran cereal Penny's been favoring lately. So I grabbed a box as a treat for them.)

Then, when it was time to go, Alex, who'd apparently missed me taking decorations outside yesterday, burst out with a "Holy cow!" when he saw the yard. (...It's not much. One door hanger and five little pumpkins on stakes.)

And to make it even better, it was one of those chilly, misty fall mornings, so every time we passed a field or grassy lot with mist rising off it, Penny and Alex leaned forward in their seats and "Oooooh"ed and "Aaaaah"ed over the perfect spooky effect.

Matt has the kids this weekend, so naturally, I'm filling up my time with all kinds of things. Lots of which I couldn't do with the kids around.

Tonight, I'm going to a Thirty-One party with E and KT, and then we'll probably hang out afterward.

Tomorrow's plan is to finish the redecoration of the dining room (I finally got hangers and shelves for all the assorted items), and then I have a date in the evening. (A low-key one -- dinner and a movie and then hanging out with a couple of friends to play Cards Against Humanity. Because really, if you can't hold your own in a game of CAH, then I'm probably not the right person to be dating.)

Sunday, I'm going to the Fall Festival at Newport News Park. I need my annual fix of fresh-made kettlecorn, and they usually have some really fun and pretty handcrafted jewelry for sale, too.

And all of that will be interspersed with some extra sleep, I hope. It should be a good weekend.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Yesterday could have been better.

It started out okay, but then I had a massive freak-out in the middle of the afternoon. I'm not entirely sure where it came from, but it was leading to places in my mind I thought I'd left behind me, so I'm grateful that KT was online and able to talk me down off the ledge, so to speak.

I managed to pull myself together in time to go pick up the kids, and we had a pretty nice evening.

But then I read Officer Buckle and Gloria to Alex at bedtime, and when I finished it, I looked down and Alex was in tears. "What's wrong?"

He managed to gasp out that he was sad because Officer Buckle and Gloria had been alone during their falling-out, and even though they're friends again at the end of the book, he was still sad that they'd fought and been apart.


I tried to lead him around to it, to try to get him to tell me if that reminded him of anyone he knew, but he just shook his head and wanted to snuggle for a while before I read the second book.

And then he woke up me at 3am to tell me he'd had an accident, so I had to get up and change his sheets. That's the second accident he's had in the last week or so.

And then he got up early this morning to tell me he'd had two bad dreams in a row. And that he'd had several when he was at Matt's. I got him to tell me about them, and the running theme seems to be abandonment, specifically by parental figures.

So... yeah, I guess he's starting to actually process that Matt and I aren't together anymore, even if it's not conscious yet.

Which, on top of my own little freak-out, was pretty well precisely bad timing. So I'm sleepy and doldrum-y today, and wishing there was some way to turn back the clock, and wondering if I should cancel my date for this weekend.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


There; this morning I did not take the cough med that knocks me flat on my ass, though last night was full of weird dreams and near-hallucination sounds, so I'm not exactly what you'd call "well-rested".

After taking stock of what was going on at work, I went home early and took a nap that lasted most of the afternoon. Just as I was waking up, I got a text that Penny had left her glasses at the house, so I found them and went up to CVS to pick up a prescription refill for her, and then took everything over to Matt's.

After that, I had a nice, quiet evening. I took some time to post some pictures to my flickr account -- a hot air balloon, a picture of Penny in all her leopard-y glory, my dining room renovations, and then, of course, pictures from the wedding.

I watched Joss Whedon's commentary on The Avengers while I ate dinner (I swear, I am going to watch it again and keep count of the number of times he says "this was one of my favorite scenes!" or the equivalent). My favorite line: "What? It's a virus arrow! It could totally happen! Don't laugh at me!"

Then I flipped over to the TiVO because KT had told me that Cartoon Network has a weekly How to Train Your Dragon cartoon going, so I wanted to put that in the recording list, and while I was at it, I noted that it had recorded a few older episodes of The Big Bang Theory. I didn't start watching BBT until halfway through the second season, so there are some older episodes I've missed -- so I happily watched one of those while I was answering email and otherwise dorking around on the computer.

All in all, a nice, relaxing evening. Even if it did end with a whole spate of peculiar dreams.

Monday, October 1, 2012


I don't know if it's the weather, or the cough meds, or a weekend of interrupted and/or restless sleep... but all I want to do is put my head down and take a nap.

So briefly, from the foggy haze of exhaustion: good weekend. Decent drive, pretty wedding, fantastic food.

Sat up way too late with KT and Kevin and Karen, playing Cards Against Humanity, then got up way too early and had breakfast with them before coming home. Got the kids, and had a great time with them, too.

This week has no big plans. The Newport News Park Fall Festival is this weekend; I might hit that. I might be going on a date Saturday. Hallowe'en decorations will probably go up, as the kids have been pestering me about them since last week. But other than that? As little as possible.

And hopefully, some naps.