Thursday, December 25, 2008

Episode 24 - Happy Holidays, You Perverts

It's 12:30AM, Christmas day. I've been up since 5AM, and refused to go to sleep until this sucker was finished and posted. That's how much I love all of you. Really!

Aside from the web comic and the book I'm currently editing (Future Perfect, due out in February 2009 from Logical Lust Publications), I decided to take it easy this week. My parents are here, along with my sister. I had one day where I buried myself in editing, and I missed out on making the gingerbread house, so that was the end of my daytime work hours. Since then, I've played Twister, made fudge with the kids, gone book shopping (our extended family overwhelmed the cafe in Barnes & Nobles!), wrapped presents, gone to church (yes, my family dragged the only Buddhist they know to church, and I had to stand through the whole mass, it was so dang crowded), and tossed naughty story ideas back and forth with my good friend Kathleen Bradean. We want to write something super-naughty, kind of like that cartoon up there.

Anyway, I need to hit the hay, because I know the kids are going to yank me out of bed at any minute, screaming, "Santa came! Santa came! And he left presents!" Here's hoping Santa hits your house too and leaves you something fun.

Merry Christmas and happy Boddhi Day ;)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Homemade Holidays

I've had a lousy week do to work issues, and I'm so fed up and frustrated that I can't seem to stop snapping at my kids. I hate being the Grinch, so I decided to take a little time off from my obsessing about stuff that I can do absolutely nothing to fix and spend an evening just enjoying my girls instead. Cassie needed to make a Christmas ornament for her bus driver and Sam was in a pissy mood because Cass has all the good play jewelry and she wanted something new. So I broke out all my old beading stuff and this is what we made.

Cassie's holiday ornament. She did most of this herself. I helped by bending the wires after she beaded them and then finishing things off by making the final loop for the hook. Otherwise, everything else is all her work.

Sam's new necklace. I used memory wire, which holds its shape forever. That way I didn't have to add a clasp to the ends or tie anything off. She can just slip it around her neck, but it still has an opening so the necklace will come off if it gets caught on anything. Sam picked out the beads and handed them to me. I did the stringing and finished off the ends with some needlenose pliers.

There was a lot of fussing and fighting over beads and who got Mommy's help when, but all of that taught me a very important lesson. Doing any sort of craft thing with kids can be frustrating and stressful, but not nearly as frustrating and stressful as what some adults (who should know better) do to others. I'll take my girls over most adults any day of the week.

Funny How Things Change

Before I had kids, I used to go to the bookstore all the time. Seriously, I lived there. I even dreamed that I owned a house that was a bookstore, complete with a fancy cafe and all the cappuccino I could drink.

After having my first child, I quit going to bookstores for a while. It was just too hard. I couldn't browse for books while handling a screaming baby. It got a little easier as Cassie got older and developed an interest in books, but even then I frequently found myself trapped in the kids' section of the store, watching my daughter tear around the place and wishing I could somehow magically transport myself to the magazines, science fiction, mystery, non-fiction... Any part of the store that didn't involve Disney Princess books and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Now that Cassie is in kindergarten and Sam is almost ready for preschool, I'd begun to look forward to the day when I'd be able to hit the bookstore alone. I could browse for hours without listening to someone whine "I'm boooooored!" I could order a piece of cheesecake at the cafe and not worry about someone dropping it on the floor before I could get a bite. I could have coffee and not have to argue with a small tot over why they can't have another sip of my delicious and highly caffeinated beverage. Then came today.

I needed to get some gift cards for Cassie's teachers. The bookstore seemed like the best bet for a teacher gift. I grabbed my wallet, coat and keys and turned to Sam.

"Okay, let's go to the bookstore!"

"No! I don wanna go bookstore! I stay home with Dada!"

"Huh? Uh... I'm going to the bookstore, sweetie. You know, books? Thomas the Tank Engine? Disney Princess stories? Cookies and brownies and treats? Let's get your coat on, okay?"


I looked at my husband. He looked back at me and shrugged. "Go ahead. She can stay here with me."

So I went. And I hated it. I didn't have anyone to sit with me at the cafe. I didn't have anyone to chat with as I browsed for books. I didn't have anyone to ask if we could please buy a princess book. I was so damned lonely I almost cried.

Next time I go to the bookstore, Sam doesn't get a choice. That little fart is going with me. It's just no fun on my own anymore.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Husband, My Hero

My in-laws have a series of plaques hanging in their dining room. Each plaque is painted with a cartoon of family member done up as a saint. There's Saint Jerry, patron saint of husbands and protector of wives and children; Saint Carmen, patron saint of housekeeping and child-rearing; and then there's one for each of the five boys in the family.

My husband, the oldest son, has a plaque that says "Saint Michael, the Magnificent." Sometimes, I find this epiteph absolutely hysterical. Like whenever I have to get up in the middle of the night and I trip over the shoes he's left in a huge pile all over the bedroom floor. And why am I getting up in the middle of the night? Because one of the kids is screaming for us, but Saint Michael the Magnificent suffers tragically from nocturnal deafness, meaning he doesn't hear a damn thing once his head hits the pillow. He also suffers from "I'll-get-to-it-itus," a debilitating disease which causes him to forget to do things like clear the kitchen table or vacuum the floor or get the kids to pick up after themselves. These are all chores I normally do, but on nights when I take karate class, he's supposed to do them. Yet I always come home to find toys strewn everywhere, dirty dishes still on the table, and our youngest daughter's dinner scattered all over the dining room carpet. When I ask Saint Michael the Magnificent when he plans to get to these things, he always answers, "I'll get to it," which in our house translates as "I'm going to forget all about these chores and leave them until **you** do them dear, because my giant brain is just so busy with other things!"

And speaking of giant brains, Michael does have one of the biggest. That man has not one but two degrees in aerospace engineering. He makes his living programming flight simulators for commercial aircraft. He's fluent in C++, Fortran, Java and fifty other computer languages I know nothing about. He reads physics books... for fun. He can explain at length the difference is between gravity and gravitation, and has done so many times at the dinner table but my brain is a little too small to handle that conversation. His hobbies include building computers and fixing bug-riddled software, and he has become so intimate with our computers that I sometimes think I ought to sew a few microprocessors into my lingerie so I can get his attention. He is, in short, a geek god.

This is not a bad thing though. In fact, yesterday it turned out to be a very good thing. One of our neighbors passed away unexpectedly this week. I stopped by to visit his wife and see how she was doing. Her family showed up right away to help with the funeral arrangements and make sure she was taken care of, but there was one problem no one could figure out -- how to get into the husband's computer to pay the bills. The widow had never been involved in handling the household finances. She only knew that her husband had everything set up on the computer and she didn't know the password to get to the info she needed. She was looking at paying someone $85 an hour to hack into the system. I told her to wait; I was pretty certain I knew someone trustworthy who could do the job for free. I called Michael immediately.

"I need you to be a hero for someone," I said.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"Mr. Smith died, and Mrs. Smith can't get into his computer to pay the bills. Can you help?"

After a moment of silence, he said, "Maybe. It depends on a few things."

"Can I tell Mrs. Smith when you're coming over?"

"Yeah, about five thirty. I need to research a few things first."

Michael came home around five, went up to his computer and started printing some documents and burning DVDs. "I want to go over there with a full tool set and all the latest info," he explained. He left the house shortly after that, papers and DVDs tucked under his arms. I sat down with the kids and prepared to wait. Some computer problems could take hours to fix, I knew.

Michael was home ten minutes later. "Problem solved," he said. "The operating system had a backdoor. Mrs. Smith can get to all the files now. I told her if she needs anything else, just give a call."

Michael went off to karate class an hour later. Mrs. Smith called while he was out. "I just wanted to tell you, that was the nicest thing anyone has done for me all week. Tell your husband I am so grateful!"

Her thanks made me want to cry. Not because of what Michael did for Mrs. Smith. A lot of others would have been just as willing to help out in the same situation, and a lot of people in our neighborhood probably will help Mrs. Smith over the course of the next few weeks. It's just that kind of neighborhood. But it made me realize that I will never ever find myself in the situation Mrs. Smith found herself in this week. My geek god husband, he of the gigantic brain, the man who suffers from "I'll-get-to-it-itus" has already made plans for when he dies. He's not planning on dying anytime soon, mind you. But he knows accidents can happen, the unexpected can occur any day, and he's got a wife and two kids to take care of, whether he's around or not.

The man who cannot remember to clear the dirty dishes off the dining room table is the same man who made certain we both have powers-of-attorney and trusts written up. The man who leaves his shoes all over the bedroom for me to trip over is also the man who created a password reset disk for me and stored it in a safe so it's there if I ever need to get into his computer to pay the bills, I can, and there will be enough money in the accounts to handle the bills for at least a couple months. The man who cannot hear his five-year-old daughter howling for a glass of water in the middle of the night has made damn certain that neither his kids or his wife is ever going to want for anything should the worst happen and he not be there to take care of them himself.

I could go on and on about the things Michael has done to take care of this family -- the weekends he stayed home and taken care of the kids without complaint so that I could run off to the library and work; the 3AM computer glitches he crawled out of bed to fix so that I could write that oh-so-important story or record that really important podcast; the poopy diapers he changed; the late nights he spent rocking a colicky baby; etc., etc. He has always come through when I need him, and he always will. So what if he can't pick up his socks and put them in the hamper, and he rattles on endlessly about the finer points of physics to a woman who's biggest mental challenge is how to get her two-year-old to poop in the potty? He takes care of the important things. He takes care of his family. He helps his neighbors and friends when they need it.

He is, in short, Saint Michael the Magnificent. He's my hero, and I'm damned glad he's my husband.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Recipe - Mom's Russian Tea Mix

I'm having a crap-tastic day so far. Stayed up waaaaay to late to finish a story that didn't quite work like it should have. Then I tried to sleep late this morning only to have my oldest invade the bed, demanding I get her going for church. I am not religious. The closest I come is Zen Buddhism, which I practiced regularly for three years. But there's no longer a zendo in my area, so I feel no need to get out of bed to prep my daughter for church while her Catholic father snoozes away. That doesn't stop her from trying to get me to do it however.

Anyway, after everyone who was going to church headed out the door, I went to make myself some coffee, only to drop the coffee pot and watch it shatter into a million-billion little pieces. So no coffee this morning. To salvage the day from this tragedy, I have turned to one of my other favorite drinks, and to make it a good, positive thing, I am sharing that drink with you. Here it is, Mom's Russian Tea:

19oz container of Tang or orange drink mix

19oz container of lemonade mix

1 cup ice tea mix, unsweetened (with or without lemon, up to you)

1 tbsp cinnamon

1tbsp ground cloves

Put all the ingredients together in a Tupperware container and make sure the lid is sealed VERY tight. Then start shaking it to mix everything up. If the lid isn't tight, you will have a drink mix disaster of epic proportions. Once you have everything good and mixed up, put 3-4 teaspoons of the mix into 1 cup of hot water and enjoy. Trust me, this will taste like Christmas.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Deep Fried - A Holiday Self-Portrait


Yep, this is me. All frazzled and fried, just in time for the holidays.  And from what I hear, I ain’t the only one feeling like this.

It’s December 5th, and I have managed to buy a grand total of one, yes one, Christmas present.  That’s it!  Even though I put a little reminder in my calendar to start shopping waaaay back in October.  See, that’s how organized I am!

So the plan now is to drug— er, occupy the Pixie with some TV and then spend the morning knocking out a few blog posts.  After that, I’ll hit the online shops and do the Santa Mommy thing.  The Cynical Woman cartoon gets the rest of the day.  Tomorrow and Sunday are dedicated to my erotica podcast — I’ve got a story to finish for next month, plus recording to do for the next week’s episode.  Oh, and I did I mention I’ve invited the Princess’ little playmates over for an evening of pizza and mini-chick flicks?

No wonder I look like this!

Test post with picture


Test Post

Nothing major.  Blogjet is giving me fits, so I’m trying to see if I can make it behave and post like a good boy.