Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy 2008

Let's see what happens this year....

Time for a few new resolutions, readers. Please feel free to spend the next 12 months weighing in and kicking my butt if I falter at all.

  • Finish Killing Julie by March 29. I'm at 186 pages now and about 59,000 words. The two leads have fallen in love, the antagonist is about to go off the deep end, and Julie remains dead.
  • Get rolling on finding that "right" doctorate program... again!
  • Exercise. Not just think about it but actually do it.
  • Continue to eat more vegetables and drink good wine.
  • Experiment in the kitchen and move beyond the usual tried-and-true dishes.
  • Learn how to download the pics from our digital camera and... better yet, print them out!
  • Keep writing! I have two more novels in my brain now, one which is currently nameless and the other tentatively dubbed Courting Selina.
  • Go dancing again. And again. And again!

Hmmm.... not much this time around. I have other minor plans: grow my hair long again, finish cleaning out the basement, continue scrapbooking, and figure out how to play Second Life.

It looks like the year will be busy enough, really!

See "yunz" all soon!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Two and counting

Chaos and I re-decorated his little tree today so that Santa could leave presents under it tomorrow night. Gavie's into minimalism this year: no ornaments, no garland, just lights. All ornaments that are put on his tree by others are removed by him within minutes. Since he's out with the big guy tonight, the tree has remained decorated for the last three hours.

We are now officially ready for Christmas.

Just in time, for tomorrow is December 24. The Day My Dad Died. Days like that deserve all caps, you know.

At the risk of sending some into conniptions, I'm going to stand by my original belief that his passing was a wonderful Christmas gift. He was done suffering, done "living" in that comatose state, done having morphine rubbed into his skin because he could no longer take it orally. A wonderful gift to see him at peace. A horrible gift to have that legacy on Christmas Eve, if I may be so selfish.

For the last month, since a bit before Thanksgiving actually, I've been bouncing between my usual child-like wide-eyed absolute love of the holidays and Scrooge-like hatred of all things merry. I said several times that Christmas couldn't come and go fast enough, dammit.

But now that it's just about here, I'm glad that my misery was ignored by the heavens.

The eight-foot-wonder is up and has remained decorated all month. Captain Chaos's own small tree is still standing. As of last night, all of the presents are wrapped. Cookies were made in a marathon bake-off yesterday; and my handmade Christmas cards, featuring Chaos himself, went out on time. I even managed to string lights on the front porch's swag this year.

All that remains, really, are for the stocking to be hung by the chimney with care tomorrow night.

Gavie's at that perfect age where everything is real, and I love it. How can I be remotely miserable when he's so excited about Santa coming? Yesterday, when Santa rode around the neighborhood on a firetruck and handed out stockings full of candy, Gavie was in heaven, and so was Mommy. His conviction that it really was Santa on that truck was what I needed today.

It will be a good Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2007


When you write, you weight the words you use, as well as those your characters use. You possess the ability to create and destroy at will. You can build worlds or annihilate them. Share secrets or keep them.

Those letters on a page wield a frightening amount of power.

In history this term, we talked about the way that movable type and that the print press allowed ideas to spread with almost unchecked freedom. Now, the computer replicates that power. With the click of a mouse, this blog goes to scores of folk -- giving them the choice to read or delete at will.

But what do we say. Or not say?

The old cliche of least said, soonest mended comes to mind.

Goes against the computer age, doesn't it? This is, after all, the era of blogs like mine. Some better, some worse, but all of them published with an agenda on the writer's part. We say it all. We blurt it out. We engage is verbal exhibitionism. (Some of us, anyway.)

But what about the words we choose to speak? The ones we choose to withhold?

I think about my father often, especially as the second anniversary of his death. I think about what we never said. He was a quiet man, and -- despite my friends who will say otherwise -- I am a reserved woman. I play it close to the vest, to use another cliche.

Somewhere in my brain is the idea that losing a loved one means that I should change my behavior. Does that mean I should talk more? Share my feelings more? I'd rather not, thank you.

What my father and I never spoke of was death. We never found it necessary to examine our views on what that moment would be like for him, nor did we think it imperative to discuss what came after. What was the point? Neither of us saw one, so we opted for silence.

It was comfortable, that quiet. Lovely, actually.

Two years later, I'm about the same in that respect. If I have nothing to say, I say nothing. If I have something to say, I'm able to choose between speech and silence.

Not everything that I want to say has been said yet. Perhaps that's why I write, to get the words out of my head and make room for more. The older I get, the more words I find and the richer the thoughts and the more varied their contexts. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

With age comes wisdom. (Forgive my use of cliches, I find them ironically amusing for this blog's entry -- being that I'm talking about words themselves and the power behind them.)

So I'll say what I must and keep the rest for later. That way, when I say it, I mean it.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Last night about 1 a.m., the big guy woke me up, asking what we needed to do. Our little one was in his room having a coughing fit that, if I wasn't used to his annual bout with croup, would have terrified me. A gagging, choking, miserable cough due to a sinus infection from hell is nothing in comparison to that awful barking cough we get to hear each January or February.

So I held Gavie as he cried, rubbed his back, and soothed him, while my husband set up the water vaporizer and plugged in the greatest invention of all: the Vicks Plug-In. Insert one vapor strip and fill the room with the thick scent of Vicks Vapor Rub. The cat loves it.

"Mommy, I want to sleep in your bed," he whimpered when I said I'd stay with him until he fell back to sleep. Who can argue with that? Not me. We moved operations into my room, and for the next seven hours I laid there half-asleep listening to Chaos alternate between sleeping quietly, snoring, and coughing.

And here I am now, in my kitchen, enjoying the silence while my two boys sleep upstairs.

And here I am now, thinking about how easy last night was. All I had to do was hold my baby boy and just be there. My back hurts from having a lanky four-year-old crowd me in bed, and I'm exhausted from hardly sleeping. I'm probably going to be a bit of a grouch today from the two. Gavie's going to be a bear himself; he always is when he's sick.

But someday, I know, he's going to come home crying because the girl he has a crush on crushed him. Someday he'll tell me that I can't do anything to help because I don't understand. Someday he's going to be too big for me to cuddle and soothe quite so easily.

Thus today we'll make some cookies from pre-made dough and drink some cocoa and watch a few Christmas specials on DVD. We'll enjoy being miserable because this is easy misery. Really. I can always take a nap later. I can get someone to crack my back into place. I can't turn back time, though.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Nearing the Finish Line

Some days things just plain go right. Some days are so good that, despite the chaos that probably should make you a raving lunatic, you can't stop smiling and even what goes wrong seems right. I love days like this.

The Christmas decorations are still only 3/4 finished over here. I still have three big Martha Stewart-esque swags left to hang in the house. Tried to start tonight, but after the first one came crashing down thanks to the removable hook removing itself, I decided that tomorrow was just as good a day to decorate as today.

This evening, Captain Chaos was banned from touching the Christmas tree until he's ten after three (thankfully cheap) resin bears ended up in the garbage after "jumping" off of the top of a two-foot gingerbread house that no longer lights up because of the stuff he jammed through the windows when we weren't looking.

Actually, it wasn't until I found three breakable Keepsake ornaments in Chaos's toy box that the ban went into effect. (For the record, two of the ornaments suffered nary a scratch, but Bugs Bunny will require Super Glue surgery once I find his eas.)

Three of the four CD mixes that I burned the other day are duds, as I discovered this morning on the drive to work. For whatever reason, they just won't play. That was just plain irritating. After all, if I have to drive to work in snow -- surrounded by people who forget how to drive the moment the skies turn white -- at least I could have some music to soothe my nerves.

I scorched the rice while making dinner. Plum forgot about it for just five minutes too long. I think it'll be easier to buy a new pot then scrape out the old one.

Frankly, I'm okay with all of it.

You see, readers, nothing can faze me right now, not even the fact that I shrunk my favorite cotton sweater in the dryer, for the writing gods and my inspirational little muses have been kind to me this week, particularly today as -- on the ride home -- I finally got the final scene for my two leads figured out (they didn't make it easy, they're both rather hard-headed).

I have my entire novel fleshed out at last. The outline is no longer a skeleton. All I need now is the time to get what's scribbled on reams of paper onto the electronic page.

Thus I offer a glass of wine to the deities, perhaps I'll pour a bit onto the ground for them as I've been told that the ancient Greeks once did.

A toast, good readers, to the gods who give me reason to smile!

Even as I'm disentangling myself from the *&$%# swag that landed on my head...