Thursday, November 30, 2006

Still Sick And Teething

Cassie’s been home four days straight now with a temperature that bounces around between 99 to 104 degrees. Sam cut her first tooth last night, but a second one must be coming in right behind it because she keeps screaming all evening when I try to feed her.

Somebody shoot me. Please.

Artwork For Writing Website

I have to put together a writing website now that I've sold a book. Here's a sample of the artwork I've been putting together. This is going to be the side bar. The red roses will be the navigation buttons, with pop up text explaining what each one is for.

Sick And Teething

Cassie is home for the third day in a row with her ear infection and the flu. I can’t believe I got this kid a flu shot. She’s been sick twice since she got it. Meanwhile, Sam is teething. I swear, in the history of teething this is the longest time a child has ever taken to cut a tooth. She’s been fussing and drooling for weeks. I made the mistake of giving her Anbesol right before nursing her, and now my left nipple is numb.

And of course, I’m still struggling with the writing. I may or may not have had a break through on the “two gay guys and a horse” story last night. I at least was able to write the ending, which was good. However, I wrote it by hand in a notebook while taking a bath, so this afternoon I get to decipher my sopping wet notes. Note to self, buy a small hand-held recorder and get a bath tub tray to make this easier next time.

Cassie is currently tucked in bed for a little morning rest. I can’t stand the idea of her sitting in front of the TV all day again, even if she is sick. I pulled out the comforter we were saving for Christmas and told her it was a magic fairy blanket from Grandmama and it would help her get better if she’d get in bed and curl up with it for a while. There are actually fairies on it, by the way. Wish I had a magic fairy blanket to curl up under...

Sam, meanwhile, is nursing away. I’m wondering if she’ll be awake when she’s done or not. If she’s asleep, I’m going to sit down and write and let Michael run to the pharmacy. I hope she stays awake though. I’d rather work through her afternoon nap. She blew it off yesterday and it just about killed me.

Since both kids are quiet right now, maybe I better get to work while I can.

Book Babe Day 3 & 4

I gave up on inking this drawing in Corel Photopaint. I thought I could get away with doing it, but when I hit the long lines in the dress, I had to quit. The digital tablet just isn't steady enough to handle that kind of line work, at least not in my hands. Here's as far as I got in Corel Photopaint.

The Book Babe, Day 3

This morning I brought the sketch (originally done in Corel Photopaint) into Macromedia Flash and started inking it there. The process is a little different, but the lines come out much smoother and I can do the accents better. Here's the results so far.

The Book Babe, Day 4

You won't really be able to see the difference until I've got the inking done and I delete the digital pencil layer.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I Cannot Get A Break...

Michael and I went to bed last night around 10:30PM. Sam woke me up crying at midnight, so I did what any sensible mom would do. I turned down the monitor and went back to sleep. That may sound harsh but honestly, the kid is almost six months old and weighs about as much as a small SUV. She needs to learn to sleep through the night.

Of course, her sister woke up screaming and came running into our room about an hour after that. She complained that monsters had woken her up. I let Cassie sleep in the bed for a little while until it became obvious that she was more interested in playing than sleeping and I had Michael pack her off to her own bed.

Then Sam woke up screaming bloody murder at 2:30AM and this time I couldn’t ignore it (although somehow Michael managed to sleep through it) so I got out of bed and fetched the baby. I nursed her in bed for twenty minutes, right up until she decided to stick her fingers in my nose. Then she went back to her crib.

Around 3:30AM, I woke up to hear Cassie crying. With a HUGE sigh, I got up again and checked on my eldest child. She was sobbing about the monsters again, so I brought her back to bed with me. After about half an hour of being poked and prodded, her father announced that if Cassie couldn’t keep still, she’d have to go back to her own bed again. So Cass turned over and started poking and prodding me and I immediately told Michael to take Cassie back to bed.

My alarm goes off at five these days. Somehow I managed to crawl out of bed and get a shower, finishing up just in time to hear both children wake up screaming (again I wonder, how the hell does Michael sleep through that?). Sam is apparently teething and Cassie complained that her ear hurt. So after a long sleepless night, guess how my day went. No really. Guess.

Yep. Cassie stayed home from school and both she and Sam spent most of the day screaming. Somehow, I don’t know how, I managed to finish off the paperwork for my new publisher (I have a publisher! Joy!) and send that out, but most of the day was spent rocking one child or the other. As of right now, it’s 6:45PM and I’m desperately hoping I can get both kids in bed before 7:30 so I can have a drink and pass out. I really, really need the sleep.

Addendum: Michael went to karate class tonight. I stayed home with the kids. Sam was out by 7PM, but it took forever to settle Cassie. I gave her a bath, hoping that would calm her down, but as soon as she came out, she vomited all over the bathroom floor. She’s finally asleep now, but I may have Michael sleep on an air mattress in her room, just to keep an eye on her. I’m going to try to finish my evening chores and take a bath myself. Since Cassie still has a temperature of over 102 degrees, I will be keeping her home tomorrow as well. It may sound callous to think of work when my child doesn’t feel well, but if the kids keep getting sick, I have no idea if I’ll ever be able to work again. This is driving me crazy!

Book Babe Day 2

More work on this image in Corel Photopaint. I took the pencil sketch layer, changed it to blue and began digitially inking over it with Corel's felt tip pen setting for the paint brush. So far, so good.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Well, I don’t know about you, but we had a nice Thanksgiving here Thursday. What made it particularly nice for me was the fact that I got to spend two hours writing, even though both Michael and Cassie were home all day. I have this little problem, you see, when those two are here. I just can’t get anything done. It’s been especially aggravating the last six weeks as I’ve struggled with writer’s block. I just know that having some time to actually sit down and writer would solve that problem, but it’s almost impossible to do that when the house is in a complete uproar.

What is it about having my husband and eldest child home that makes things so chaotic? It’s probably scheduling, or the lack there of. When I’m home alone with Sam, I’ve got a routine that we follow as close as we can. Nap times are at 8:30AM and 2PM. Bath time is at 7:30AM. Afternoon play time is from noon to one. Etc., etc., etc. I know what we’ll be doing and when, and I’ve built the entire schedule around Sam’s naps which, by the way, are my work hours.

Michael, however, doesn’t have this schedule memorized. Why should he? He’s not home most of the days and he doesn’t do the breastfeeding (which is also done on a schedule). Plus, he doesn’t like to get up at the butt-crack of dawn like I do, so when he’s home on the weekends, he doesn’t set his alarm to wake him up. Without a definite starting point, his day runs in a state of flux. And that’s fine for him because he knows what he has to do and he’ll eventually get it done before Monday rolls around. Unfortunately, his state of flux blows my carefully regimented schedule all to hell.

Things really came to a head on Wednesday. Due to the storm that rolled through here, Michael stayed home from work. I tried to keep Sam on a schedule, but I hadn’t even considered that Michael would be home that day, so I ran around trying to do my usual thing and kept tripping over him. That put Sam’s nap schedule way off, and my work hours too. Plus Cassie was home as well, and we were supposed to do some fun stuff that day so even though I was massively behind schedule, I took a hour or two to sit and paint with her because I promised her I would. I even read her stories and got her down for a nap, but Sam woke up about then and that was the end of my hopes for my afternoon work hours. Michael did try to rescue me. He offered to take Sam for a while so I could write. But five minutes after he left, Cassie woke up, demanding to know where her father was. When she found out he’d left, she threw a major tantrum, one that lasted right up until Michael got home. And when he walked into the house, I decided to throw a tantrum too.

“I hate it when you guys are home! I can’t get anything done! I sold a book last week, damn it, but I’ll never be able to write again because you keep screwing up my schedule! I’m tired of my work being treated like a second class priority just because it’s erotica and I work at home. If I don’t get some time to write today, I’m putting you and little Miss I-Gotta-Scream out on the lawn and I don’t care if it’s raining!”

And on and on and on. To Michael’s credit, he stood there and took it all like a man. Then he slipped out of the bedroom and took Cassie downstairs so I could work for an hour.

After my little tirade, I decided something had to be done, so I printed out a blank schedule form and sat down with Michael that night to review what would happen the next day. We wrote down nap times and meal times, added time for Michael to cook Thanksgiving dinner, and put in my work hours too. Then I posted our schedule on the fridge where we could see it and went to bed. The next morning, I got up at the butt-crack of dawn and Michael got up at 7AM, just like we’d scheduled it. And the whole day just fell into place like magic.

It was amazing how well that worked. It worked so well I was caught completely unprepared when my afternoon work hours rolled around and I had free time to do whatever I wanted. And we sat down again last night with another blank schedule and filled in that one too. So far, the day’s working out as planned. I just can’t believe it.

So there you go. I’m grateful for schedules that work and husbands who put up with temper tantrums and children who nap. I’d be grateful for the husband and kids even if they didn’t act like such angels yesterday, but you know what? It makes all the difference in the world to know they care about whether or not I get work done.

Book Babe

This is a rough sketch of something I'm working on right now. The cool thing about this is that it wasn't done with pencil and paper, but done digitally in Corel Photopaint instead. I'm starting to figure out how to get Photopaint to work as a sketching program, which will go a long way towards helping me do more digital artwork.

The Book Babe

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Experiements In Digital Inking

I'm trying to figure out a way to digitally ink my pencil drawings. I could do them by hand, but am wondering if I could get better results with one of my graphics programs instead. I've obsessed about this for three days now and the answer is 'no.' I'm better off doing it by hand, although I might consider investing in a light table to make this particular chore a little easier. My preferred inking style does not always lend itself to the projects I want to do, and I'd like to avoid a lot of drawing and retracing to make a clean copy of my artwork. Anyway, here are the results of digital inking from two different programs - Flash 5 and ArtRage 1.

Flash 5 inking experiment

ArtRage 1 inking experiment

Hungry Mungry And The Picky Eater!

Dinner with Sam...

Me: Sam, it’s dinner time! Are you hungry, precious?

Sam: Nyum nyum nyum nyum!

Me: Okay honey, don’t eat the high chair. That’s not good for you. Here, try some cereal instead. Mmmmmm, cereal.

Sam: Nyum nyum nyum nyum nyum!

Me: Oh, very good. You’re a good eater, Sam. But Mommy needs the spoon back now.

Sam: Nyum nyum nyum nyum nyum! Nyum nyum nyum!

Me: No sweetie, please don’t shove the spoon up your nose. Mommy needs that back to feed you. Give me the spoon... Sam, give me the spoon... Of fer crying out loud, Sam. Give me the spoon!

Sam: Waaaaaah! Waaaaah! Waaaaaaaaaaaah!

Me: No, don’t cry! Don’t cry! Look, here’s the airplane! Here comes the airplane! Zoooooooooooooom!

Sam: Nyum nyum nyum nyum!

Me: Very good Sam. Now let’s do a choo choo train. Choo choo, choo choo, choo choo, choo choo, WOO WOOOO!

Sam: Nyum nyum nyum nyum nyum nyum nyum nyum!

Me: Good girl! Can Mommy have her fingers back now? Uh, I need those fingers. Thank you. Okay Sam, let’s try another one. Here comes the astronaut. Here he comes in his space suit! He says, ‘Open the pod bay doors, Hal.’

Sam stares at me blankly.

Me: Okay, that’s from the movie ‘2001.’ Maybe you’ll get that when you’re older. Um, let’s do the airplane again. Here comes the airplane! Zooooooom! Zooooooooom! Zoooooo- Augh! My fingers! Sam, give me back my fingers!

Sam: Nyum! Nyum nyum nyum! Nyum nyum nyum nyum nyum nyum nyum!

Me: Aaaaaaa! Call 911! She bit off my fingers! Call 911! Aaaaaaugh!! AAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!!

And that’s dinner with Sam. An hour after all this, she’ll spit everything back up, including my fingers, which is why I can still count to ten. Feeding Cassie has been an entirely different matter...

Cassie: Mommy, I don’t like chicken.

Me: Oh? Well you don’t have to eat it...

Cassie: Okay!

Me: But you’re not getting a treat if you don’t eat your dinner.

Cassie (pokes at her plate): Mommy, I don’t like broccoli.

Me: That’s fine. But you’re still not getting any treats if you don’t eat what’s on your plate.

Cassie (does a little more poking): I don’t like rice either.

Me: Once again, you will not get anything else to eat tonight if you don’t eat your dinner. Do you understand?

Cassie: Yes ma’am. Mommy?

Me: Yes, Cassandra?

Cassie: I’m done. May I be excused?

Me: Yes, you may. But you’re not getting anything else to eat tonight. Remember that.

Cassie runs off to play in the living room. During the course of dinner, she keeps running up to either me or Michael, asking for a movie, telling fart jokes, and in general acting like a little hooligan. After we’re done eating, I clear the dishes off the table. Cassie’s plate is still untouched. It’s the exact same food I tried feeding her last night, which she refused to eat then too, so I just dump it in the trash.

Me: Okay Cassie, movie time is over. It’s time to go upstairs for your bath.

Cassie: Mommy, I’m hungry. May I have something to eat?

Me: Uh, no. Remember what I told you?

Cassie looks at me blankly.

Me: You didn’t eat your dinner, so you’re not getting anything else to eat.

Cassie: But I’m hungry!

Me: Too bad. It’s bath time. Get upstairs.

The crocodile tears begin to flow from Cassie’s baby blues. She wails, screams, gnashes her teeth and throws herself on the ground. It’s all I can do to keep from laughing.

Cassie: Waaaaaaaah! Waaaaaaaaaaah! WAAAAAAAAAAH!

Me: I’m turning out the light and going upstairs now. See you in the tub.

Cassie: Waaaaah! Waaaaaaah! WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

I turn out the light and head upstairs, as promised. Cassie, who hates to be left in the dark, scrambles up the stairs after me, throwing herself on the ground every third step to throw another tantrum. She keeps screaming at me, but I can no longer understand anything she says. I just keep humming and turning out the lights as I go. Eventually, Cassie makes it to the bathroom. She sobs all through getting undressed, and is still howling when she steps into the tub. When I turn on the water, she screams even louder. By now, I can no longer contain myself. I’m laughing out loud. This just pisses Cassie off even more. However, once the tub fills up, the crying stops (I knew it would). She starts splashing around, playing with her bath toys. We sing funny songs and laugh. Eventually, the bath is over, and Cassie makes it to bed with only one more minor tantrum, this one about how she hates to brush her teeth. Fortunately, Michael is home to handle that, because I think if I laugh at that kid too much more, I’m going to burst my sides.

And that’s dinner at the Madden household.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Queen Of Porn Rides Again!

I got some great news last night. My erotica novel, Demon By Day, is being picked up by an e-publisher. I won’t divulge too many details, but I’ve got a contract to sign and mail in so I’m feeling very good. Demon By Day (originally titled “Helen’s Very Gay Fantasy Novel”) is a work of lus- er, love, for me. I spent ten months writing the first draft, another three doing the second draft, and another two putting together synopses and query letters for publishers. I think I came out lucky on this one, as it found a publisher far more quickly than I had any right to expect.

In other erotica writing news, the Erotica Readers and Writers Association is pleased to announce the release of
, an anthology of the best of ERWA’s story galleries. Yours truly has a piece in there that will curl your hair and probably kill the faint of heart. “A Man In A Kilt” is another work of lus- er, love, and I’m very proud of it.
Winter is coming folks, so if you’re looking for something to read AND keep you warm at the same time, you know who to come to.


ZBrush Tree

Here I am, back with the program I love to hate. Between sick kids, a broken car, and other schedule screw ups, I haven't been able to put paper to pencil lately, so I'm reverting to some digital work to fulfill my daily art requirements (even then, I've still missed a couple of days recently; that's got to stop!). The above may not look like much, but it's a work in progress. ZBrush has a nifty little tool that allows you to easily build branching objects, including trees, people, anything with legs and arms that go off in different directions. This is my first pass at a tree. It's got a long way to go before it reaches it's final form.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

You Know You’re Tired When...

You brush your teeth with facial cleanser instead of toothpaste.

You use a tube of bright red lipstick instead of a tube of flesh-toned concealer to cover up the circles under your eyes.

You keep asking the other moms in the play group, “Has anybody seen my kid?” And they keep pointing out to you that she’s sitting right there next to you.

You put orange juice in your coffee instead of creamer (yes Yvonne, I’ve done it too, and you’re right, it is a complete f@cking waste of perfectly good coffee).

You can’t find your eye glasses because you put them in the refrigerator... again.

You call someone every name of every female in your family, trying to get that person to come down for dinner... and the person you’re yelling for is your husband (last time I checked, he was male).

You put your nursing bra on inside out.

You go to change the baby’s diaper, but somehow the clean diaper ends up in the gin and the dirty one ends up right back on the baby.

You give the cats baby food and the baby cat food... and you don’t figure this out until after lunch is over.

There are more signs, I’m sure, but I’m too tired to remember them.

Writer’s Blockhead

I think I can honestly say, I would rather go through another vaginal birth than deal with writer’s block. Yes, vaginal birth is extremely painful. There is nothing quite like having another living being rip its way out of your uterus and then tear up your clitoris as it exits your vagina, but I gotta tell you. At least you know that eventually, the pain will end. You will somehow eject that sucker from your body, and if you can’t, someone is always willing and waiting to cut a four-inch hole in your gut to get that kid out of you.

Writing is not so easy. I have a story stuck inside me. I’ve been working on it for about a month now. I’m twenty pages into it. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I’d say it’s about two gay men who both love the same horse. No, not THAT way. Get your mind out of the gutter...

Where was I? Oh yeah, I’ve got twenty pages of story written and it’s all crap. I cannot get past page 20 to save my life. I keep going back and rewriting the same scenes over and over. I have ideas for what should come next, but those scenes are still a little ways down the line, like at page 32 or there abouts. What I need to write is what comes between page 20 and page 32, but I can’t figure out what goes there so I keep going back through the first twenty pages hoping I’ll figure out how to get from point A to point C.

If you’ve been hearing some very loud screaming and cursing coming from the southeastern area of Virginia, you now know what it is. It’s me. Oh, and that repetitive crashing sound? That’s also me, smashing my head against a brick wall.

Unlike a baby, no amount of pushing is going to get this story out of me. I know it’s there. I can feel it dancing around the edges of my conscious brain. I just can’t get a hold of it to put it down on the page. And unfortunately, there’s no doctor standing by waiting to cut it out of me, fully formed and ready to go. So I’m screwed. It really is like having the baby’s head sticking out of your wazoo and not being able to get it out any further, and I fear I may go through the rest of my life like this because that’s how bad writer’s block really is.

I tried today to work around the block by sitting at the computer and just typing out whatever ideas came to me, but that wasn’t very productive because SOMEBODY (Sam) decided she’d rather scream than take a nap. Screaming is not conducive to defeating writer’s block (although I must admit, I have been doing a lot of it myself; see my earlier comments above).

I’m hoping a hot bath and a glass of wine might loosen my brain tonight and allow me to figure out what to do with this stupid story. I’m also hoping that if I get Sam up at the crack of dawn, she will go down for a nap with very little fuss. I’m hoping. But if you hear more screaming coming from this corner of the world... well, you’ll know what’s going on.

Happy Birthday, Mary!

I can't remember how old she is (last I recalled, she was a year younger than me, I think), nor can I remember the exact date of her birthday (hell, I can't remember the exact date of MY birthday), but I do know it's sometime this month, and she's still alive and kicking, so happy birthday, Mary! Here's to not dropping dead from sheer frustration.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


To quote Madeline Kahn, “I’m so tired...”

I don’t know what my problem is. I know I went to bed at an early hour (for me at least), and I only got up once with Sam. She wanted to nurse at 3:45 AM, which shot my plans to get up at 4:30 all to hell, but oh well. I just can’t get up at 4:30 if I’ve already been up within an hour prior to that. Now, if Sam would wake at 2 AM, or even sleep through the night, I’d be fine, but she’s not in the mood to cooperate these days.

Being tired hurts when you’re a mom. It hurts because you can’t you just can’t get anything done. Like my work. I’ve spent the last few weeks struggling with a story. I’ve got twenty pages written, but it’s been agonizingly slow work, and I don’t know why. I just can’t get this story written. There are times when I think I’m doing really well with it, then I look at it and realize it’s all wrong. There’s too much dialogue, not enough action. Or else there’s too much action, and it’s too intense for that point in the story. I’m laboring over every single word and nothing is flowing out of me. I’m about ready to scrap the damn thing, which truly hurts because of the amount of time I’ve already wasted on it. But honestly, I can’t get this story to move. It’s just not happening. It’s like trying to walk with a small child strapped to each leg, you know?

So I’m tired. However, I did manage to accomplish a successful switch over to Blogger Beta. At least I think it’s been successful. Maybe I should knock on wood. The site looks pretty much as it did before, but now all my dedicated readers (both of them) can find entries based on topic. That’s right, I did this all for you guys, because you know I love you.

One change you should note. Art will now be posted as a separate entry. Thanks to the handy-dandy category function of Blogger Beta, I can label each art entry as art, so if anyone just wants to peruse through the pretty pictures, they just have to hit the “Art” topic link and they’ll get it. And to make sure I continue to do some artwork every day, I have devised a new rule. I can post art without a written blog entry, but I will not post a written blog entry without art. Whoopee! Don’t that sound like fun.

I’m so tired...

The Happy Flower

I decided to play around with ZBrush today, a program I love to hate. This is about the level of success I can get with this program. I just can't wrap my brain around how it works, and frequently when I try to do things, the program crashes and I lose all my work. But sometimes I can do simple little things like this.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sisyphus, I Feel Your Pain

I spent three hours yesterday morning cleaning my house - vacuuming, sweeping, taking out the trash, scrubbing litter boxes, folding laundry (lots and lots of laundry). Then I spent another hour that evening scrubbing my kitchen until it sparkled. I was so thrilled with how clean the place looked and smelled. This morning, I put in another two hours, scrubbing cat puke and baby spit-up stains out of the carpet, washing windows, wiping down both upstairs bathrooms and doing yet even more laundry. By 1 PM when I left to work out at the Y, my house was pristine. When I got back at 2...

Sigh. I hate cleaning. I always swore to myself that I would not end up like my mother, spending every weekend on my hands and knees scrubbing the house. I swore I wouldn’t spend entire days just washing and folding load after load of laundry.

What the hell happened to me?

To make things even worse, I got nothing else done this weekend, including artwork. For some reason, I cannot seem to lever myself out of bed early on the weekends. I don’t know why. It’s not like I stay up any later on weekends than I do on weekdays. I just can’t seem to get moving. I wonder if the problem is that weekends are just so chaotic. No matter how hard Michael and I try to impose some sort of order on the day, we just can’t seem to put together a plan and make it happen. I wish I knew how to change that, because it’s getting to the point where I hate dealing with weekends.

Okay, I will take that last statement back. I did get to do one thing I enjoyed this weekend, and that’s go to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens with Michael and the kids. It was a wonderful afternoon and I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with my loved ones. I just wish the rest of the weekend hadn’t rolled over me like a twenty-ton stone.


In lieu of the artwork I didn’t do this weekend, here is what I completed last Thursday. The first two images have been posted here previously. The third is the image in its current state. I’ve taken the bed scene and worked out the perspective in Corel Draw, adding details like the bedspread and wall decorations so I can print the whole thing and trace it by hand onto a sheet of drawing paper. Then I’ll scan the traced image back in and start working on digitally painting the final image. Yes, I’m going around my ass to get to my armpit with this one, jumping back and forth between digital and traditional methods, but it’s the only way I can figure out how to do this particular image. It’s ass-backwards, but that’s what happens when you don’t plan things out. No wonder this frickin’ thing is taking forever.

Reclining Figure, September 2006

Beautiful Bed, rough draft, October 2006

Beautiful Bed, perspective draft, November 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Good Day, Bad Day

Monday was a good day. I got up at 4:30 AM, was at my desk with a hot cup of coffee by 5:30 AM, had the kids up by 6:30, and saw Cassie and Michael out the door by 7:30. After bathing and nursing Sam, I had her down for a nap at 9:15 so I could go back to work. She didn’t wake up until 11:15 when we headed out the door for the YMCA. Got some karate practice in, did a little swimming, made it home a little too late to have lunch with Michael, but I still got to kiss him on his way out the door. Then I played with Sam a while and had lunch. When she went down for a nap at 2 PM, I went right back to work and didn’t stop until it was time to get Cassie from preschool at 4:30. Dinner was at 6, and both kids were in bed by 8 so I could have a nice long bath and get to bed before 10. Yep, Monday was a good day.

Tuesday, on the other hand, was a disaster.

Sam woke up around 2:30 AM and kept me up for the next two hours, kicking me in the stomach while I tried to nurse her back to sleep. It was 4:30 before I finally managed to get her back into her crib. Normally, I like to get up at 4:30, so I can have a perfect day like Monday, but after being pummeled for so long I was wiped out, so I figured I just forget about my early morning work and catch up on sleep. Ten minutes after I climbed back into bed, Cassie came running in screaming. I couldn’t understand what she was screaming about, but figured it was the usual problem - monsters (i.e. the cats) climbing into her bed again and waking her up. So I let her into bed with us and told her she could sleep safe for a while between Daddy and me. Only she couldn’t settle down. Turns out there was a reason for this. She had an earache, a very painful one, but she couldn’t stop crying long enough to tell me about it. I finally figured it out when I noticed how she kept clutching at one ear.

Needless to say, that pretty much killed my day right there. My baby was in pain and needed my full attention. With Michael’s help, I managed to get her and her sister up and fed. I had physical therapy, so Michael stayed home with the girls while I went to my appointment. When I got home, we rushed out to vote. Then, just before Michael headed out to work, he and I managed to squeeze in a small argument. Joy! After he went to work, I sat down to nurse Sam. Fortunately, Cassie agreed to play quietly in her room rather than demand an all day TV marathon. I did get Sam to take a quick nap, which is how I managed to get some writing done, but then we spent lunch at the doctor’s office, where I found out that I missed an 8:30 AM appointment the day before. It was supposed to be for Sam, and I could have sworn it was scheduled for the next Monday, but I guess I was WRONG! So much for Monday being perfect.

Cassie fell asleep on the ride home from the doctor. I got her down for a nap and then had to fight to settle Sam down. She was fussy, so I decided to take her temperature, only to discover that the digital thermometer was on the fritz. So she may or may not have had a temperature of 100 degrees. While I was trying to read Sam’s temperature, Cassie woke up screaming again. I couldn’t abandon Sam on the changing table with a thermometer stuck up her tookus, so I yelled at Cassie to come find me, which she wouldn’t do. She just stayed in her bed and screamed. Finally, I gave up on the thermometer and set Sam down in the bassinet in our room. I grabbed Cassie and set her on our bed and tried to calm her down. Didn’t work. So I headed downstairs to get the medicine the doctor gave me. It’s an oral suspension, which means I have to mix it with some water. While I was trying to measure out 4 ml of water, Cassie continued to scream even louder. Then Sam joined in, no doubt inspired by her sister. So I had two screaming kids when I came back upstairs. It took me a good twenty minutes to calm them both down. I finally had to resort to turning on the television to get some peace and quiet. Thank god for afternoon cartoons.

Sam eventually took her afternoon nap. Cassie stayed slumped in front of the TV for about an hour. I got a tiny bit of artwork done. Then I cajoled my eldest child away from the boob tube by offering to pull out her Play-Do and play with her. I spent the next hour alternating between making squishy cartoon characters and cooking up tacos. Fortunately, I was able to keep the ingredients for two such diverse projects separate. The rest of the evening went about as expected - dinner, tantrum, movie, tantrum, bath time, tantrum, bedtime, tantrum - with neither child going to sleep as early as I would have liked. As for me, you better believe I didn’t get enough sleep. I, fool that I am, decided to watch an hour of television, which mean that I stupidly decided to trade one hour of snooze time for one hour staring at the idiot box. Now that may not seem like a lot of time to watch TV, but consider that if Sam went down at 9 PM, I watch TV until 10 and then take a bath, I may not get into bed until 11, and Sam has a nasty habit of waking up crying at 11:30. She’ll usually fall asleep after twenty minutes or so, but I can’t sleep through her fussing with or without the baby monitor on, which means I will then be up for a while trying to calm myself back to sleep. One would think that as tired as I am, I would just drop right off, but no, I sleep about as well as I breathe mud, which is to say not very well at all.

I can’t decide if today, Wednesday, is good or bad. Michael stayed up late last night watching election results, and I usually can’t fall asleep until he’s in bed. Can anybody explain to me why the hell that is? Why does a husband have to stay up at least an extra two hours before lumbering into bed, thus keeping me up or, if by some rare chance I did fall asleep, wake me up as he crashes face first into the mattress and starts snoring? Any way, we were up late, so we slept late, except for Sam who was right on time with that 2:30 AM feeding. Not that it matters too much on Wednesday. Wednesday is play-date day, so I don’t plan on getting much work done then anyway, but man, it sure would have been nice to get up at 4:30 AM this morning and do a little work.

Now at this point, after rambling on and on through the tedious details of my day, I feel like shooting myself because I finally have proof that I’m growing old. I look forward to getting up at 4:30 AM to do a little work? Shoot me before I go any more insane, okay?


Okay, today was a good day after all. What makes today good? The artwork below, courtesy of my three-year-old, daughter. This is a drawing Cassie did this morning of her, me, and Sam (who in this picture is still in my belly). She’s also included Sam’s crib and something hanging below me that she calls “The Dump.” I’m afraid to ask what she means by that. But isn’t this picture amazing? I’m so proud of my little budding artist!

Me, Cassie, and Sam, by Cassandra Jane - 8 November 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Head... Must... Explode!

My friends tell me they can tell how well or how poorly my week is going by the number of blog entries I make. Lots of blog entries mean I’ve got time on my hands and very little stress. Fewer blog entries mean my head must be about ready to explode. Guess which end of the spectrum I’m at right now?

Cassie is over her flu bug, but has been cranky as all get out. I swear, I think somebody dropped a crab down that child’s shorts, the way she keeps screaming all the time. On Friday morning, after I’d been up with Sam the Fuss Pot all night, Cass came running in at 6 AM, yelling “Mommy! It’s time to get up!” “No, no, honey. Mommy’s tired. Why don’t you lay in bed with me for a few minutes and then we’ll get up and have breakfast?” I swear to you, all I wanted was five more minutes of sleep and a chance to let Michael finished getting dressed so he could take Cassie downstairs and feed her while I dragged myself and Sam out of bed. But apparently Cassie thought I had just told her that I was never getting out of bed because I was an evil sloth demon, because she began screaming at the top of her lungs. “GET UP! GET UP YOU VILE BEAST OF LAZINESS! IT’S SIX AM AND YOU MUST GET UP!” Needless to say, I did get up and I picked that child up by the waist band of her pajama bottoms and hauled her little tookus right back to her own bed where I left her, still screaming, while I went back to my bed. Perhaps I am an evil sloth monster after all.

But Cassie is feeling better and is most certainly going back to pre-school today. Hell, she could have the bubonic plague and I’d still send her to preschool because I can’t take much more of this. I love my child, but she’s driving me crazy.

The upside of all this is that I’ve done some nice cartooning while watching kiddie TV with Cassie. I’ve got designs for three cool characters roughed out, plus story ideas jotted down, and plenty of projects just lined up and waiting for me to work on. Oh yeah, lots of stuff to do, cool stuff, art stuff, writing stuff, stuff I love... stuff I have no frikkin’ time to get to because I AM A MOM! AAAAAUUUUUGH!!

Do you see my problem here? This is why my head is about to explode. Lots of ideas for stories and art, no time to express them into reality. Bummer.

Oh well, such is life. Eventually, both kids will be in school, and then I will have my free time back. Too bad my sanity will have long since departed.


Here is one of the character sketches I was talking about. This is Angel Baby. She’s craaaaaazy!

Friday, November 03, 2006

It’s My Kid Who’s Sick, So Why Do I Feel Half-Dead?

The week got better and then it got worse. I managed to get through Halloween and get a smidgen of work done and also get Cassie in for her flu shot, which is very ironic because she was okay on Wednesday, when I did plenty of work, but she came down with the flu on Thursday and now I can’t seem to get Jack done. Well, not entirely true. I am getting a lot of TV watching in, catching up on all my favorite shows like Sesame Street, the Wiggles, Doodle Bops... I frikkin’ hate Doodle Bops!

To top things off, I don’t even look human right now. Since Cassie is sick, I’m having to take care of her and Sam all day long, and even with the non-stop TV marathon we’ve been running, I can’t find time for myself. So I look U-G-L-Y (You ain’t got no alibi, you UGLY!). I’m running around in ratty old sweats, trying to find a little time for exercise. I’d like to do some karate practice but the best I’ve been able to do is ride the bike for fifteen minutes today and then jitterbug around the house while putting away laundry. The jitterbug would be a great mood booster if I could avoid looking in a mirror. My hair desperately needs to be washed, I’ve got crust in my eyes and circles under them from staying up yet again with Sam all night... Can someone explain to me why, oh gods why, an infant will cry for nineteen minutes (my limit is twenty) then just as you’re about to go in and get her, mysteriously go quiet? Only to start up again the moment your head hits the pillow, of course.

And then there’s the cats. I don’t know what’s up with those three, but I’m gonna start pulling off their little arms and legs if they don’t stop having the “All-Night Fight And Meow Fest” in my bed while I’m trying to sleep. Talk about plucking my nerves. I’m just about to doze off when one of the little twerps decides it’d be a good time to wrestle with the window blinds, thus making enough racket to wake me and the baby, who will then proceed to cry for nineteen minutes before mysteriously going quiet again.

Ugh. Cassie’s temperature is still over 100, so we’ll be home all day again today. She’s getting bored though, and wants to go to the playground. I may take her out for a bit after lunch, if I can pull myself together so I don’t look quite so much like Quasimodo. And maybe, just maybe, if I can get her to take a nap this afternoon, I’ll get some writing done. Maybe.

Today’s artwork is another self-portrait, this one done in Macromedia’s Flash. I wish I looked this good right now.

Self-portrait, 31 October 2006.