12 December 2006


So today, to get out of the house before I went bonkers trying to appease Ms. Baby, who has decided - after 6 days - that Monsieur Helmet is not so much fun after all and spent the day whimpering pathetically and making big eyes at me (she's smart for 4 months old, lemmetellya), then refusing to nurse unless I removed Monsieur Helmet from...

Where the hell was I?

Oh, right. Getting out of the house.

So today, to get out of the house, Ms. Baby and I made An Expedition to the nearest bookstore in search of a cookbook.

I was fairly certain that this particular cookbook would be easily located, since it's by a popular cookbook author and was published fairly recently. Not only that, but I was headed to a Large, Chain Bookstore, whose selection - I assumed - would far outpace any locally owned bookstore's selection.

Guess what. Not. There.

As in, they didn't fucking have it. As in, I packed Ms. Baby, Monsieur Helmet et al., into the car with all her paraphernalia in the rain and they didn't fucking have it.

Now, I ask you, what GOOD is it being a Large, Chain Bookstore if your selection SUCKS?

I mean, what is the POINT? Don't Large, Chain Bookstores EXIST to dazzle us with their amazing selection and bamboozle us with their incredible size so that we can't even remember the whereabouts of the Poor, Locally-Owned Bookstore that we used to go to?

So disgusted was I that, out of pure spite, I would have marched off to a Poor, Locally-Owned Bookstore and ordered my damn cookbook even if they didn't have it on the shelf. However and most unfortunately, the Large, (Crappy) Chain Bookstore that didn't have my cookbook is the only bookstore at all within reasonable driving distance. Probably because they drove all the Poor, Locally-Owned Bookstores out of business years ago. Bastards.

10 December 2006

Operation Finish Novel: Take 2

A thousand words a day sounds like a good idea. In close proximity to NaNo, it even sounds reasonable. And if I didn't have a job, this mommy thing, a house to clean, meals to cook, and Christmas to put on, it might even be reasonable.

But reality has set in.

As you can see from my self-fabricated ticker, I started off well. And then sleep deprivation, doctor's appointments, work-work, and well, LIFE, happened and 500 words a day started sounding like some pie-in-the-sky pipe dream.

I can still hit 1,000 on a good day and usually weekend days I hit 1,000 no problem. However, I have decided to revise my daily goal a bit.

The new, unbreakable rule is: I have write SOMETHING every day. Even if it's no more than my current low of 190 words, I still have to write SOMETHING.

If I do that every day, it will get me to the end of the novel. It may be painfully slow and I may be arguing with teenagers before that happens, but whatever. It will happen.

Then I can start on Operation Revise Novel. Woot.

08 December 2006

Dinner, Quick and Easy

Or Quick and Cheesy, If You Prefer

A package of chicken (boneless breasts or boneless thighs are my fav)
A can of diced tomatoes

ARRANGE the chicken in a PAN. POUR the tomatoes over the chicken.


A can of diced green chilies, if you want to go Mexican


Some Italian seasonings, if you want to, er, go Italian

TOSS (not literally) into the oven at 350-375 if you have an hour and 15 or an hour and a half or at 425 if you really can't wait that long.

ADD some cheese towards the end of cooking time.


07 December 2006

Helmet Head

Yesterday was Helmet Day, here in Exile, and Ms. Baby is now - willing or otherwise - proudly sporting pretty pink head gear.

Below, her initial reaction:

Yup. I'm a Mean Mama. You see how I torture my young'uns...

Seriously, the whole thing appears, thus far, to be a whole lot less traumatic than I was fearing. We'll see what the next few days (weeks, months) hold, but ill effects have been limited to a few funny looks from people we don't know. So far.

05 December 2006

I Make Milk. What's Your Superpower?

I have two things to say about the following news report:

Breastmilk Likely Saved Girls Lives in Frozen Wilderness, Experts Say

Number 1: I hope they find the girls' daddy soon and alive.

Number 2: Go, boobs.

I'm gonna re-read this story every time I get sick of breastfeeding from now until Ms. Baby decides she's done. No matter how sick of it I get. If she's done at 1 year, fine. If she hangs on and hangs on until she's almost 3 like her big sister, fine.

03 December 2006

This Year's NaNo Lessons

1. Finishing in Not-So-Record Time. Every time I write 50,000 words in 30 days it takes me longer. The first time it was 23 days, last year it was 27 days, this year it was 28 days. I vaguely wonder why that is.

2. The End. This NaNo represents the first time I have not reached The End, as in The End of The Story. The other two NaNos were dragged kicking and screaming to their respective ends. In the case of the first NaNo, this meant condensing about six chapters into four sentences. In the case of the second NaNo, this meant rushing through a vampire fight scene that ended up including a muskrat. Yes, really. I'm much happier having blown off that particular No Plot, No Problem advice this time.

3. Hijackers. Normally, my plot hijackers have names that start with L. So this time I deliberately avoided L names for my characters. Not only did that not do me any good - I still ended up with a hijacker named Luther (in chapter 1, no less) - but I also ended up with one named Sigrun. Go figure.

4. To Hell with Padding. I admit to having used such padding techniques as avoiding contractions in my first two NaNos. I planned to do it this time, too. And I did it. For one day. And it drove me nuts, so I said forget it and just wrote. I did just fine and my brain was much happier for not having to force my fingers to laboriously remember to avoid the apostrophe key.

5. Accomplishment with an Infant in the House is Actually Possible. This is, perhaps, my most important lesson. I had serious doubts this time about finishing. Hell, I had serious doubts about being able to write at all, what with Ms. Baby and her frequent screaming fits. But I proved to myself that it can be done (even in the midst of said screaming fits). I also reminded myself that, when I make myself find the time, I really do know how to do things other than change diapers and ensure that babies are properly latched on.

The Shiny Lining

There always is one, isn't there? Even inside the darkest of clouds.

The shiny lining inside the dark cloud of last evening's loss of wordage came in the form of a plot bunny that jumped me during Ms. Baby's 5AM feeding. (Why a plot bunny at 5AM? I don't know. You'd have to ask Dorothy (the muse). That's when she tends to pop in for her little chats.)

Where was I... Oh yes, dear Dotty showed up to tell me that I had that scene all wrong, so it didn't much matter that it went up in cyber-smoke, since I would have had to rewrite it all anyway. Which I did. This morning. When I should have been folding laundry. (Which was fine, really, because who the hell wants to fold laundry?)

Anyways. I'm back to where I was last night. And I triple-frikkin'-checked that I had the right file this time.

02 December 2006

God Fucking Damn It

I just spent the better part of two hours writing a thousand words. They are now gone because I am stupid.

I FUCKING KNOW BETTER than to click on the Recent Files list in Word. I know better. But I fucking did it anyway.

I fucking did it anyway and wrote my thousand fucking words in the fucking backup file that Documents To Go uses to sync the fucking laptop version to my fucking PDA.

And then I fucking synced the files. And lost my thousand fucking words.

I am so FUCKING PISSED I can't see straight.

01 December 2006

How Amazing We Aren't

This headline was reported the other day by several online news agencies (go ahead, read it, it's short):

Synopsis (for those in a real hurry): Basically, somebody has studied an ancient Greek device, reconstructed it and found out that it does amazing and very sophistocated and advanced things. Scientists are astonished that an ancient civilization could produce anything quite so amazing, sophistocated and/or advanced.

Stories like this always leave me shaking my head at the scientists. Well, not at the scientists, but at their reaction to how complicated ancient civilizations were.

I mean, why is it so amazing that ancient peoples could create complicated things?

This shouldn't amaze us. It's not like they were Australopithecus or Homo erectus or something. They were us, Homo sapiens sapiens. We create complicated things all the time. Why shouldn't the ancient Greeks have been able create things just as complicated? Shouldn't we expect to find complicated things in the ancient world?

Winter Blows In

Wind shrieks through frantic trees
Windows rattle
Wind chime, a constant clangor,
slowing, never stopping
Leaves scurry, in droves, in circles, in corners
There is no place to hide