shock collar

invisible fence
might not be very humane
but will save money

No, I don’t want to get an invisible fence for the puppy. Or even for the kids. What I need is one that surrounds every local bookstore. Then, if I had some kind of receiver that’s connected to my wallet, I’d get one helluva jolt every time I tried to randomly show up at a bookstore and spend $150 on books I don’t have time to read.

Oh, but there are so many I want. And if I check them out from the library I just have to return them before I’m finished (or even before I start!). Whereas, when I BUY these books, I can gaze lovingly at them while they gaze lovingly back at me from my bookshelves. And their many-colored covers will be decorative! And the children will see how wonderful it is to grow up amongst stacks and stacks of books, even as the Internet tries to take over the world. (I know, I know, I’ve spent way too much time trying to justify going out and spending an assload on some new books.)

Last weekend, I went out to the bookstore, and much like all the other kids there, I was accompanied by my mother so that we could catch Rick Riordan giving a reading from his new middle grade book – The Titan’s Curse. Ostensibly, I said it was research, so that, you know, I could see how animated he was, and how clever and funny his stories were, and then I’d be able to store that somewhere in my brain and maybe use it one day if I ever get lucky enough to give a reading of my new book when it comes out many, many moons from now (Summer ’09 – doesn’t that seem like FOREVER?).

Really, though, I was just there to be another one of the kids – mesmerized by a fantastic writer. Before Mr. Riordan came out, I chatted with a girl about his books and how much she loves them. And she told me a little non-sequitor story about how lucky she is to never get hit in the head with balls during PE, and we had a grand time. It made me wish I had some kind of secret business card I could hand out that would give kids a website to go to to read and "test out" a couple of chapters from my book. These kids are such great readers, and they aren’t going to gloss over what they think. Plus, it could generate really cool underground buzz amongst my core audience.

It’s not something I could do now – there are just too many months until the release. Plus, I don’t know what my editor and publisher would think about something like that. As a former kid who was a ravenous reader, though, I can’t think of anything more exciting than being approached by a writer and asked to take a sneak peek at a new book coming out.

Anyway, just something to think about, I guess, while I’m sitting on my hands and hiding my keys so that I don’t run out and buy a million more new books.

Of course, if I actually spent more time writing books and less time farting around on the Internet I might actually sell another book or two and have a couple of more dollars to spend on books.

This is an interesting theory I’m going to look into. A soon as I’m finished blogging. And reading TWoP. And hiding my eyes while I scan Perez Hilton’s site. And listening to the Woot podcast. And checking my email.

She’s almost one!

speed of time cliche
who knew it could be so true
her first year is… poof!

I can’t believe the wee-er one will be 1 on Sunday. It’s been the shortest year of my life. Seriously. I think this entire year has gone by faster than the last two weeks of my pregnancy did.

I could get all mushy right now, reminiscing about her first few days and her milestones and her birth, etc. But I’m going to have to save that for this weekend. I have a baby to get down for a nap and a puppy pooping on my carpet and a 5-year-old who needs stimulation or he will single-handedly bring the house down around us all. There’s no time for mushy right now.

In fact, there’s no time for birthday party planning. I don’t want to do anything crazy, but I’d still like to do SOMETHING for her, and here it is, the Tuesday before her big day and I have no presents, no plan for a cake, nothing. With the wee one, I was obsessed for months about his cake and his party. (A zoo party – with a giraffe cake, complete with toasted coconut spots. That was back when I thought I had time to make Martha Stewart recipes. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.)

So, basically, I’m feeling a little guilty. My in-laws will be here this weekend to celebrate. And my mom was just here this past week. But I hadn’t really planned on inviting a lot of friends over. Now that the day is nearing, though, I feel a panic creeping up my neck. I should call people! I should go buy useless things so she has a bunch of presents to unwrap! I should consult my cake book to figure out something cool to make!

Is it weird to feel like you’re letting your one-year-old down by only having four people over for some cake? I only feel that way because her brother’s first birthday – while not extravagant – was at least a party. You know?

I’m trying to figure out a cake, and so I’ve come up with her two favorite things:
1. my boobs
2. cheese

So that leaves me with a cake in the shape of boobs, made of cheese. Or a cake in the shape of cheese, with a side of nursing when she’s done.

No pink balloons and giant number ones and ballerinas and Elmo for us, no siree. If we’re doing a cheesy first birthday, we’re doing it literally.

Stay tuned for pictures.

I think.

Resistance is futile

lots of legs, some fur
extra eyes and even wings
not the pets you want

I’ve been resisting pest control for a while now. My husband wants to sign a contract for regular, quarterly death raids on our unwelcome critters, and I’ve been holding out. I’m not a fan of poison, really, especially with kids and a puppy.

But oh, how the times they are a changin’.

Strike number one for my environmental/anti-poison crusade: scorpion on the stairs
Strike number two: roach skittering across the floor
Strike number three: tarantula on the wee one’s slide in the backyard

Seriously. Tarantulas and scorpions? Not cool. I mean, what the hell? Do we live in the Wild West? No. Is this a horror movie? No. Are we in an episode of Planet Earth: Heebie Jeebies? No. We just happen to live in a new neighborhood, across the street from a pond. That pesky pond.

Oh, and I didn’t even mention the stealthy fire ants that attacked the wee one’s feet the other day. And the wasps on the front porch. And the cricket the wee-er one almost ate. I mean, come on. If the creepy crawlies are going to lay siege to my house, then I’m going to be forced to fight back.

Hear that scorpions, tarantulas, ants, roaches and other sundry disgusting critters? I’m coming after ALL your asses. Well, I’m going to hire a dude to come after you, but whatever. SOMEONE’S coming after you, so clear out, before it’s too late.

Shock and awe, baby. Shock and awe.

writin’ writin’ and more writin’

rusty wheels creaking
slowly steam pours out of ears
edits continue

I’ve been writing like crazy this week, trying to finish up a handful edits before the second draft of my manuscript is due in early July. I keep distracting myself, though, by still getting excited that Random House wants my book. I know it’s old news now and I should be over the thrill of it, but I can’t help it. Every time I sit down and spread out my manuscript in front of me, with the editorial letter on one side, my notebook just next to it, my laptop open and whirring contentedly… I have to take a moment to think, "Is this real? Like for REAL real? Am I really a writer? Am I really writing, not just because I want to and because I love it, but because someone else likes it, too?" And then I feel this overwhelming flood of gratitude and luckiness and ineptitude and guilt and I have to literally shake my head to make it all go away so that I can write.

It’s wild.

And as frustrating and solitary as writing can be, it’s also incredibly fun and even sort of miraculous. I’m constantly surprised by some of the things that appear in the book. Some days it’s like a perfect storm of seemingly inconsequential influences. And yet as I type, it’s like the characters take over and they write the book themselves. Things I would have never thought about or even imagined  suddenly appear. This happens despite all of my research, all of my notes, all of the outlining I’ve done – things just happen organically. I guess I shouldn’t be amazed by it, because that’s just how writing is. But I AM still amazed.

I have to go figure out how to disable an electric forcefield now.

Any suggestions?

Oh, Beaver…

vacuumed in a skirt
like Fifties Future! model
so where’s my world’s fair?

That’s right. I vacuumed this morning. [applause]

With the new faaaancy vacuum cleaner. [even more applause]

It sucked up all kinds of cheerios and detritus. Who knew that fine, silt-like people shavings (droppings? sheddings?) littered my carpets? Tres disgusting. And yet I’m fascinated by the people silt I suck up. It has become a kind of contest wherein I empty the vacuum canister after every room so that I can measure which rooms have the most skin litter (winner so far? living room, hands down).

I mean, I’m guessing that’s what the silt-y stuff is in the vacuum; a fine combination of moon sand, teething biscuit crumbs and the microscopic debris of gnarly skin droppings we sprinkle through the house all day and all night. Blech! But still grossly awesome! I love measuring the silt. It’s like the foul but deliciously pleasing habit I had of scritch-scratching the wee-er one’s cradle crap. So gross and yet so satisfying.

Also strangely satisfying? I sucked up people silt while wearing a skirt! I never wear skirts! But I’ve learned that summer heat + cool, white, flowy skirt = air circulation. Who knew?

Now all I need are some heels, pearls, and maybe some punk rock Dyson tats.


So you think you can walk

toes grip for dear life
frankenstein arms positioned
mama is so proud

Three steps!

There was a one step, one step crash and then a one step stumble. And I was the only one home to see it! I guess it was the So You Think You Can Dance episode we were watching on the TiVo that inspired her. She was staggering and flailing JUST LIKE that wonky jazz routine to The Triplets of Belleville soundtrack.

We’re going to spend the rest of the afternoon taking laps around the living room and by tonight I fully expect her to be helping me clean this place up. Or else practicing for her jazz debut. 

The jidges are so impressed.

I’m so old

oh teeny-boppers
your assholery appeals
only if it’s real

So I think it’s been established that I’m old and somewhat crotchety. (Though getting laughed at when I show my ID at Spec’s hurts my feelings. I’m not THAT old.)

Because I’m old, uh, -ish, I’m not always on top of things so forgive me for this question, but here goes:

Is Avril Lavigne for real, or what? I mean, I’ve been listening to her latest album and I think it’s hilarious. I imagine Veronica Mars singing most of the songs because there’s this kind of punchy, spunky, irony that I think is on purpose.

It seems to me that it’s teeny-bopper music making fun of teeny-bopper music. That would make it, what? Meta teeny music? You know, like Shrek but instead of a fat green ogre ruling a world of fractured fairy tales (while still starring in a fairy tale) it’s a squeal-y girl making fun of bubble gum pop in such a way that it appeals to bubble gum lovers and old cynical bitches, too?

Or am I just thinking about this way too much?

If Girlfriend is faux bubble gum, then I love it so much. But even if it isn’t, it’s still something that I wish would have existed fifteen years ago. God, it would have lightened up all those Morrissey/Depeche Mode mix-tapes my boyfriend gave me.

how’s it swingin’?

should have happened long ago
outgrowing the swing

The wee-er one is approaching her first birthday (!) and I think she’s officially outgrown her swing. Well, I’m pretty sure she officially outgrew it a while ago, but, to paraphrase Chicago: she loves it and I love it and it loves her and I love it for loving her and she loves it for loving her.

It’s (usually) the fastest, easiest way to get her to nap and it even helps relax her before going to bed at night. We’ve used it SO MUCH MORE with the wee-er one than we did with the wee one. By the time he was a year he would have nothing to do with it. So I don’t have any experience "weaning" a child off of the swing. We’re to the point now, though, that her head grazes the mobile of stuffed animals that hangs down, so I know I need to get her out of it before it becomes a safety issue.

Then I guess I’ll have to buck up and learn how to teach her to sleep on her own. Which is, again, something we should have done months and months ago. Alas. I’m not ready to say farewell to the swing.

You know, this time last year I would have never predicted outgrowing the swing would be my mid-June worry for 2007. I don’t think I would have predicted anything for 2007 because I couldn’t get past my big, fat, hot, broken pelvis pregnant misery. Have I mentioned how happy I am to not be pregnant this June? I do a little dance every time I think about it. And then I have to stop dancing because the wee-er one is hollering. Still. I’ll take a hollering baby over an asshole pelvis any day.

I’m off on a tangent aren’t I?

Anyone know of a swing for older babies?

No, no! Don’t tell me. We have to wean the swing. She has to learn to sleep on her own. Well, on her own with a little help from Rob Zombie, Justin, and Amy Winehouse. (It’s going to be all my fault when she’s a teenager and every time she’s at a rock concert she mysteriously falls asleep. Heh.)