Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out with 2013...

...in with 2014, one year closer to King Putt being peacefully deposed.*

My house is less cluttered than this time last year.  I can't say it's cleaner because my hair is six inches longer, which leaves bigger hairballs when I shed...and our vacuum's motor crapped out.  With planning to send the imp to private school, that really doesn't leave much slack in the budget.

I published two books in 2013: The Last Pendragon, and Highway to Tartarus.  

The kids continue to grow, and learn, and stun everyone around them speechless with the things that they say: Christmas Eve dinner included sliced ham and cheese pieces for the kids.  The pixie picks up a piece, and says, "Oh, look!  It's a trapezoid!"  The imp asks her to hold it up then confirms that it was, indeed.  And so it was.  Keep in mind: she's three.  Barely.  As in turned three twenty days before that. 

Odysseus began taking classes to earn his CPA certification.  He completed six out of a needed 27 credit hours, and is signed up for nine more this coming semester.  He also started swimming in the university pool during open swim hours. 

And we learned, early in the year, that our health insurance plan had been grandfathered in.  Yeah, the price has gone up, but it's nowhere near as bad as it could be. 

All in all, 2013 wasn't terrible for us. 

My resolutions for 2014 are as follows:

1. Keep decluttering and simplifying my home and my life.

2. Finish and publish Pendragon Resurgent and Fire and Forge.**

3. Start homeschooling the pixie while the imp is off at Catholic school.  I'd homeschool him, too; however, the little twerp refuses to show me what he can do until he's certain he's got it down.  That includes letters and sounds. 

4. Get more comfortable driving.  This one is a necessity.  And while I do, I'll pray that the bad driving endemic on my dad's side of the family isn't genetic. 

*I hope.

**I have had a request to add a glossary of characters in the Modern Gods books--who they are, what they do, which pantheon they come from, and associated prophecies and such.  I think I'll add that to the next book, but should I post it in the blogs?

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Shadow the cat just scared herself into hiccups. She jumped up onto the candy container (a large, square, Rubbermaid leftovers storage container) on the table--which was precariously balanced, thanks to the three year old that put it there--and it fell off with her.


I don't feel like doing much, but I needed something to eat so I could take some more Aleve. 

I took a slice of ham and slapped it on my cast iron griddle skillet.  Then, when it started to sizzle, I cracked an egg onto it.  Salt, and cayenne pepper, and a slice of cheddar between them, and mustard on the bread. 

And the kids?  Peanut butter sandwiches.  The pixie has Nutella on hers.

Although...the pixie?  I have to cut hers up bite sized, or she peels it open and starts licking the goodie out of the middle. 

random ramblings

The kids seem to be starting to feel better.  Instead of laying around on the couch watching Disney movies and whining (and playing with their InnoTabs) all day, they played with each other, running back and forth between their rooms. 

I've been informed that I can't avoid my aunts, the bully and the wimp.  They want to see the kids for Christmas, to give them their presents.  My mother says the bully has improved her behavior, but I really doubt it.  She refuses to admit there's anything to improve, so how can she have? 

Honestly, once my mother passes away, I'll probably cease to make the effort to see anyone other than my sister.  Because my aunts?  Don't make an effort.  Even my mom doesn't make any effort--we go to see them.  They never come here, and it's for more reasons than Mom stupidly picking a vehicle that's unreliable and expensive to maintain.

I'm not in a very good mood, this morning.  I woke up at about six thirty this morning, with my back twisted out of shape and spasming.  It still hurts quite a bit, but I'll try to stay upbeat and not whine.  It isn't easy when both kids are whining about nothing being on television. 

You know, I remember getting up on Saturdays to enjoy the cartoons.  Things like Bugs Bunny, and the X-Men (when I could sneak it past my mother, who didn't approve of it).  Now?  Now there's jack shit on.  And none of it is anything I'd permit my kids to watch.

So, they whine.  I've put in a DVD for them--The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. 

The dog managed to not crap in her crate this morning.  I'm pleased about that, and she gets to go outside once Odysseus gets up and dressed. 

The cats got a package of catnip fish for Christmas: little canvas bodies stuffed with crinkly plastic, and infused with catnip.  Cricket is prone to picking one up in her mouth and carrying it around, yowling the entire time.  Shadow grabs whichever one she decides to play with between her front paws, flings it up into the air, catches it, then presses it to her cheek and snuggles for a while. 

The dog's Christmas present is already in the trash.  She ripped an ear off of it, then ripped its back open and pulled the squeaker half out. 

I have two more weeks until classes start.  I'm half looking forward to it, half dreading it. 

Did anybody see DaddyBear's review of Highway to Tartarus?  It's a pretty good, honest review.  Go read, then go order the book and read it for yourself to see if you agree.  It's only $2.99, after all.  And if you have a Kindle and Amazon Prime, it won't cost even that much, because you can borrow it. 

I'm going to have to re-read what I've done of Pendragon Resurgent before I can finish the last ten thousand words.  The world and character have gotten out of my head, from spending three weeks knitting Christmas gifts for people who likely won't appreciate them.  Shouldn't take me long--I read fast.

Friday, December 27, 2013

FFOT: stuff

1.  The kids getting sick over Christmas can fuck right the fucking fuckety fuck off.

2.  The dog can fuck off.  Instead of going back to bed when I put the kids back to bed at seven (hopefully, more sleep will make them behave better and get them over this nasty cold faster), I got dressed to let the dog out on her leash.  Silly me--I shouldn't have bothered.  The dog had already shit in her kennel.

3. Leukodystrophy.  I have an older half sister in a nursing home with this.  She's four years and four months older than me, and doesn't remember me.  It's like Alzheimer's, only worse.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


It looks like it's gonna be New Years' Eve before Christmas will finally be over.  Damn it.  As bad as the pixie was yesterday (and the day before), the imp is actually a little bit more miserable with his. 

And I?  I'm suffering more from way too much rich food than I am anything else. 

I really hate this time of year.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


My pixie is sick.  Like, hacking/sneezing/snorting/running a fever sick.  Having weird bad dreams sick. 

Right now, she's sitting on the couch, watching Peter Pan and eating an apple.  I strongly doubt she's going to be willing to do more than graze, since her sinuses are draining.

Guess we won't be finishing up the Christmas season tomorrow with a visit to my family after all.

Celebrate the birth!

Monday, December 23, 2013

You know there's something wrong...

...when Walmart is practically deserted, two days before Christmas, and Sam's Club is packed.

Last minute stuff...

We will be celebrating Christmas with Odysseus's parents tomorrow, and opening gifts with the kids on Christmas morning (though Odysseus works Christmas night).  Weather permitting, we'll make a flying surprise visit to my mother's on Boxing Day, provided her sisters all go home on Christmas--otherwise, the visit will be put off (and also not previously announced).

Why yes, yes I am trying to avoid my aunts.  One of them is a spineless wimp, and another is a bully--neither character trait is something I want modeled for my kids, especially not what happens when the bully lights into the wimp.

I haven't yet gotten my mother a Christmas present.  I just don't know what to get for her.  We haven't made it to the store for what we're going to get for my in-laws, either.

Last, but not least, we need to make a brief grocery run.  We need to make cranberry relish (recipe here at bottom of post) for my in-laws, and I need to pick up a prescription refill.

I hate this time of year.  I really, really do.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Random ramblings

So, in the past two weeks or so, I've made five hats (one each for my sister-in-law, her grandson, my aunt, an extra from the tag ends of the first three that my daughter claimed, and one from a different type of yarn for my sister), and half of a scarf.  I'm still working on the scarf.  After I'm done with that, it'll be time to make cookies.  Pumpkin spice.  Some will be plain, some with raisins, and some with dried cranberries.  Also, cranberry relish.  Treats for the in-laws, and some for my family.

The pixie has backslid in the last couple of weeks on potty training.  She wet herself on Friday morning, and decided to keep playing with her brother rather than going to use the potty for #2, just now.  I'm thinking that this is mostly due to a disruption in routine.

The imp...has spent the past few days acting up: tormenting his sister, bossing her around, smacking her, pulling hair, charging at her screaming to scare her...you name it, he's done it.  It's not that he never does this, but more that he's doing it nearly constantly that's driving me batshit insane.  Like the pixie, I think it's because of a disruption in routine.

Yet another reason I detest the holiday season: it fucks up the kids' schedules and their behavior something fierce.  It's gonna take forever to get back on.

The cats...are cats.  They spend about two thirds of their time looking for warm places to sleep, and about a third of their time playing, eating, following us around, being weird, or otherwise acting like cats.

The dog got water-tortured (by her definition--in reality, it was only a bath) last night.  So, we have a clean, fluffy puppy...that pretty much instantly started acting the ass to get herself thrown out into the yard.  It almost worked, to her detriment: we've had sleet, and freezing rain yesterday and today, and will have snow tonight and tomorrow.

I've been too busy knitting and cleaning to write, lately.  However...I'm almost finished knitting the last Christmas gift that I'm going to be making: a hat and scarf set for my sister.

----time break of about four hours---

I had a hell of a nice surprise (bordering on shock, actually...).  My oldest half sister came by to visit (and bring a couple of little Christmas presents for the kids).  I was expecting her.  I was expecting her to bring her niece (her younger half-brother's child).  I was not expecting her to bring our oldest brother with her.

I hadn't seen him since 1997.  When I graduated high school.  I hadn't met my sister-in-law at all until today.

I am...beyond happy.  That was one of the best Christmas gifts I've ever had.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Life in general sure loves me, lately.

I woke up yesterday morning feeling like I'd been punched in the face: a sinus headache from my eyebrows down through the top of my mouth.  Today?  It's not nearly as bad, but I have a dentist's appointment in an hour.

And I'll have three more after this one.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Disrupted schedules...

Yesterday, the imp refused to nap.  Played to keep himself awake.  I went in a couple times, got fed up, and told him if he didn't sleep, he wouldn't go outside.

So, he went to sleep.  Slept until almost six. 

Needless to say, he didn't go outside.  Didn't go to bed, either, until nearly ten.

He was still up before seven thirty. 

And he's been a right little shit since then.  Throwing fits every little bit about things that he wanted to do, that he knew I don't let him do...like go play before nine.  Or come out when he's been sent to his room for throwing a fit, just because there's something on TV that he wants to watch (after having thrown the fit to go play). 

I got fed up with it, and put him to bed.  Seems I was right to--he went right to sleep. 

The pixie is watching Dora the Explorer--something I can't stand without my headphones (which I can't find), so I'm hiding back in our room while Odysseus watches her to make sure she doesn't start running around and wake her brother up. 

Her schedule was disrupted, too, but she tends to be whiny rather than throwing screaming temper tantrums.  She will be going down for an early nap, though. 

I can already tell this is going to be a hell of a day with the kids.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Weird headspace

I felt really strange, last night.  Not quite a headache, not quite feeling a panic attack coming on, but something wrong.  It had me so off balance that I completely forgot to put a pull-up on the pixie for sleep.

As it turns out, it was heralding a night full of flashback dreams. 

I am...exhausted.  I think I may end up drinking my entire pot of coffee, today.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Been a busy day...

So, today, we had a couple of friends of ours over.  Morning had me scrambling around, cleaning up messes, while the main part of lunch roasted in the crock pot (I put a mesquite seasoned pork loin in at eight or so, and dumped barbecue sauce on it around ten, then turned it down to low).  Lunch was that, steamed, mixed veggies (corn, green beans, peas, and carrots), and corn bread.  Yummy, yummy cornbread. 

More cleanup after lunch (thankfully not a whole lot), and then laundry.  The chore that really never ends, because at the end of the day when you've got everything clean, you undress to go to bed...and there are more dirty clothes. 

Odysseus worked this evening, so I was by myself with the kids from about three thirty to the time I finally got them into bed...but at least they helped a little bit with stuff.

Now...now, it's time for me to write.  Because I am not going to do another fucking lick of housework.  I want to get at least the chapter I'm working on done, and then get to bed on this side of midnight.

Random ramblings

Odysseus, who has gone back to school for a CPA certification, took his last final for the semester on Thursday night.  I'm turning in my grades tomorrow, completing my semester. 

Next semester is going to be very much not fun for me.  Thursdays will be very, very long: I teach on Tuesday and Thursday, from 9:00-12:15 (75 minute classes).   The kids go down for their naps at one, and sleep until three.  Odysseus has classes MWF on campus, and works from 4:00 to 10:00 (getting home anywhere between 10:30 and 11:00) on Monday, Tuesday and Friday of every week. 

Which means that my best (perhaps only real) option for my required four to five office hours will be either Wednesday or Thursday afternoon.  All afternoon. 

So, since it's the simplest solution, my office hours will be set from 1:00 to 5:00 on Thursday, and I'll just stay put at the office.

The pixie had her annual checkup on Wednesday morning, this past week.  The doctor worked a miracle: she was actually quiet for five full minutes.  In any case, she's currently in the process of catching up to her brother in weight (since he's not putting any on), and is maintaining the same difference in height by putting on the inches so fast you don't see the weight.  She's a bit over three feet tall, at three years old.  And is in the process of eating everything in sight.

My imp...oh, my imp.  He truly never shuts up.  He isn't shy at all.  Not even a little bit.  The only thing he does at the doctor's office during his checkup is fight to keep all his clothes where he thinks they should be, and refuse to cooperate with the part of the checkup that makes sure his boy parts are doing okay and growing as they should.  "NO!!  DON'T TOUCH MY PENIS!!!" 

Which cracked the doctor up.  She just tells him that that's very good, and that he's not to let anybody touch him there except the doctor during checkups and mom or dad during baths.  And got me complimented for teaching clinical terms instead of euphemisms.

I am...looking forward to Christmas, this year.  I think I've figured things out to keep my aunts from ruining things for me.  I will simply...be elusive, and not give prior notice about when I'm going to show up to visit my mother.  Since the aunts I want to avoid live about half an hour away, and take an hour or so to get around and get ready to leave their homes, we should be nearly ready to leave by the time they get word, and get on the road. 

And if not...at least it'll be a short visit. 

I'm kinda sorry I have to miss one of them, missing the other one makes it worth it.  Really.

The dog has been a miserable dog since Thursday.  She got some outside time, but not a whole lot.  The weather has been miserable: wet and cold.  Frequent bouts of snow.  Ice, sleet, and freezing rain. 

The cats have gone crazy.  Shadow fished the plastic bag I've fastened the foil bag of catnip tea into out of the box to snuggle.  And watched where I put the box so that she could do it again after I took it away. 

Cricket has, again, found one of her knitted mice* and has been going stupid with it: she throws it in the air, catches it, picks it up in her mouth and carries it off to play with it around obstacles.  She will skitter and scramble around the kitchen and living room chasing this thing for an hour at a time.  That, in and of itself, isn't too bad, or it wouldn't be if she didn't talk to it.  Loudly.  The whole time she's playing with it. 

The only other cat I've ever had that's done that was full blooded Siamese, and wasn't a house cat.

I've been busy with housework lately, mostly in the kitchen, and mostly trying to battle a roach infestation.  I thought we'd finally gotten it handled--the bugs were, at least, fewer--but then I went in and turned on the light to finish loading and run the dishwasher, last night before I went to bed. 

Guess what?

So, between that and the kids needing pretty constant supervision (they don't fight when Mom's sitting in her chair in sight or earshot, only when Mom's up doing housework), my writing has suffered.  Think two or three hundred words per night (at most), rather than three or four thousand.  I may try to get a couple of hours of writing (instead of housework) in this evening.  I've got one really big fight sequence coming up in the chapter I'm on, and I'd like to get all of that done in one shot.  And after that, most of what's left will be mopping up what's left of the bad guys, and getting the good guys settled in somewhere safe.

After that, I'll be writing a children's book I've got in my head.  It's going to be a chapter book, but a short one.  About a horse.

Friday, December 13, 2013


So, when I woke up this morning, I'd forgotten it was Friday.  By the time I remembered, the day was in full swing, but I didn't have anything to write about (other than wrenching my bad knee in my sleep--again).

Until I checked the news a bit ago.

And found something that fully disgusts me.

A university administrator for the University of Colorado has been placed on paid administrative leave while they gather enough chutzpah to fire the bitch.  Paid leave.

Because apparently, running a phone sex/soft core porn business during office hours apparently didn't pay enough.

And apparently, it just doesn't do to straight out fire her for neglecting her university job.  We can't expect her to do the same amount of work as her colleagues after all--she's a woman, and she's black.

The whole situation has me so infuriated and disgusted that I cannot muster the invective appropriate to the situation.

Update:  I forgot to link the story.  It's here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A dilemma...

If a five year old boy cusses, but it's not in English, should he still get in trouble?

How about if Mommy and Daddy lose their shit, quietly, and he's in the other room and doesn't know it?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

So proud of my pixie!

She is, barring an accident where she shouldn't have trusted a fart, potty trained.

Monday, December 9, 2013

weekend off

Well, not really.  I took the weekend off from blogging and writing, because I needed the time to be able to straighten up the living room as best I could after putting up the Christmas tree (two boxes and assorted wrapping for slightly more delicate decorations).  And I discovered that the roaches that had moved in here about four months after they were kicked out of their previous abode* hadn't vanished--they'd moved into my silverware drawer--and nothing I was doing was getting rid of them. 

So, the weekend has been spent battling my house. 

I am about to raise a white flag, and just go back to my writing.  Which I'd prefer to be doing anyway.

*Last spring--about March, or so--a landlord evicted some tenants about two houses south of us.  The tenants, apparently, were nasty: the landlord had to rip out all of the carpeting, and some of the sheetrock, and replace it all.  And, with that, a few hundred thousand roaches fled the place, scattering in all directions.  They hit us about August.  Our neighbor directly to our south had them within a month, but has no pets, and was able to vacate for the day and bug-bomb the hell out of her place.  I have two cats, a dog, and two children, and am not willing to use poisons like that.  And the baits do not work.  

It seemed, for a short while, like the egg inhibitors we placed were working, then I realized that they'd just moved into my silverware drawer: it's right next to the dishwasher, and the hot, moist air vents right straight into it.  

My silverware is no longer in that drawer.  Not much is, except for a boric acid/powdered sugar mixture.

The bugs have finally thinned...but they're still fucking there.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Why, oh why...

...does it take a three year old three hours to eat less than half a cup of something she likes?  After she's whined for half an hour about how hungry she is?  And still fail, after three full hours, to eat it all?

I am so very glad she's in bed right now.  Because I have a stress and frustration headache that you just wouldn't believe. 

I think this calls for some hot catnip tea with honey whiskey.


The dog is in the kitchen (tied to the fridge to keep her from eating the mess in the living room left over from putting up the Christmas tree), and the pixie is sitting in the living room doorway, just out of reach of the dog she loves but is terrified of, "reading" to her. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stuck in my head...

I will admit, I don't mind too much.  Tim Curry can sing.

Cold, dark, dreary day...

But it's warm inside, the cats are being entertaining little nuts, and we just got the Christmas tree put up.

I think, after the pixie goes to bed, I'll have a cup of hot cocoa with Irish Cream.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Three years.

Three years ago, today, Odysseus and I sped to the hospital at 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon.  I got a spinal block at 4:00 p.m., and my pixie was born at 4:30 p.m.

It's been a fun three years, even as it's been frustrating, and insanity-inducing.  She's so very cuddly and affectionate (much the opposite of the imp, unless he's sleepy or sick).  So very girly.  I found, last night after she'd gone to bed, that she'd tucked a green army man into the folds of a baby blanket, and put him to bed. 

So, this afternoon, after work, we're going up to visit Grandma and Grandpa, for the pixie's birthday. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Oh, hell no.

No, not just hell no, FUCK no.

If they pull this shit (and they're working on it, with Common Core), I'm going to say to hell with school in general, and teach my kids at home.

Monday, December 2, 2013

My last Monday for the year...

Semester ends on Friday, for fall '13.  Saturday, I'll grade the last of their stuff, and then I'll post their grades.

All they're doing this week is blogging--which means that they don't have to come to class, so long as they get their shit done (and I don't care either way if they do or don't--it's their grade, not mine).  So, this week, I'm just sitting in my classroom for four hours today and Wednesday, and three hours on Friday. 

Do you know how much I can write in four hours???  I'll be finished with Pendragon Resurgent by the end of the week!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Last sample...

...of Highway to Tartarus.  I think I'm posting a bit more than Amazon did, but I cannot stand the idea of cutting a chapter off in the middle. 

random ramblings

I am about ready to boot the boy-child out the door to play outside.  I am right at the end of my patience with him for the running around, somersaulting into the door to his room, and the doors to his closet.

Right now, all is decently quiet: he's playing happily with blocks in the corner behind the front door (the only bit of non-carpeted floor in the living room).  The pixie came out of his room a bit ago, and asked him if she could play with his trash truck*--he told her "Yes, as long as you close the door before you push the buttons.  Mama doesn't like the noisy toys."

The pixie will be turning three years old on Wednesday.  Three.  It's shocking how fast that happens.

So, I'm pretty sure she's all the way daytime potty trained.  She's taking herself to the bathroom, when she needs to, and doing both number one and number two in the potty chair.  Next step will be transitioning her to the toilet, so that I don't have to clean poo out of the potty chair.

She came up with something pretty cute, last week.  She suddenly started having issues with bubble bath, and got resistant to using the potty.  She told me that it hurt.  I could get her to go, but she'd cry the whole time, and cling to my arm.  I kept telling her that she needed to let all of the pee come out, or she'd get sick.  After a couple of times of that, she told me "My pee tank is empty!"

I just about lost it.  And it has moved into the common vocabulary for both kids.  And the imp added "poop tank" to "pee tank."

I figure, what the hell.  It's accurate enough.  And it's cute.

The dog went from sad dog last week to very happy dog this week: last week, we had rain every day, at least a little bit, then some sleet when the highs dropped into the twenties.  She didn't get a chance to go play outside.  This week, on the other hand, has been pretty nice, and she got to spend a few hours outside most days...and all day, Thursday, yesterday, and probably today, at least.

The cats...are cats.  They're crazy, playful, affectionate, and funny.  Cricket drools like a moron when I pet her, and Shadow tries to drink my tea**--normal behavior, for these two.

I had one class day last week, and I have three next week.  And then, I'm totally finished for the semester--I'll grade the last few things a week from today, and turn in grades immediately following.

And then, I need to revise my textbooks--again--for next semester.

I'm almost finished with Resurgent.  What do y'all like better for a title, Camelot Resurgent or Pendragon Resurgent?

After that, I have a children's book to write, by request.  Would anyone else be interested in a story about how a toy horse comes to life for their kids/grandkids?  If so, I might well publish it.

Last, but not least, the last sample chapter of Highway to Tartarus will be showing up today, around noon.  If you like the samples, by all means--the Kindle version is all of $2.99.  I get around $2 of that. 

*The trash truck is a new toy, a reward for being an incredibly good boy about not messing with his door handle after Mommy unlatched it so that it will work from inside the back seat.

**Shadow has a sweet tooth.  My herbal teas are often sweetened with honey--which she likes--or honey whiskey--which she likes even better.  Best of all?  When I'm drinking catnip tea with honey whiskey.  I've had to start using a covered travel mug when I drink that.

Friday, November 29, 2013

FFOT: Black Friday fanatics

They can fuck off.  Because this is so fucking far beyond fucking ridiculous that it's bordering on fucking indescribable. 

Mall mayhem...
Suspected shoplifter shot after dragging cop through KOHL's parking lot...
Man stabbed over parking spot...
Shopper Kicked Out Of WALMART For Filming Fight...
Man shot walking home with big screen...
SALVATION ARMY kettles stolen...

Next sample chapter...

...for Highway to TartarusThis makes three out of most of four chapters that Amazon posts for the "Look Inside" feature...

Whistling in the dark...

...or else, deliberately lying to justify her own job by luring kids who love to read into a major that won't qualify them to do more than make coffee or run a Walmart register. 

Because, really: "Why English Majors are the Hot New Hires?"  Bullshit.  If they were, they'd be...um...I don't know...working.

What's-her-tits claims that English majors are more valuable than STEM majors who actually have the skills and knowledge to be valuable workers--unlike said English majors--without further education.  She claims that our "soft" skills, such as communication, writing, research, critical thinking, and empathy are far more valuable than skills such as being able to design and build a software system or a building or a bridge. 

Hah--no.  And if they were, veterans would be more valuable, yet. 

Here's why English majors are as worthless as they look:

1.  Communication--they would be far more capable of communicating clearly if they weren't English majors.  English majors throw phrases like "heteronormative standards of beauty" into conversation, and expect normal people to understand what they're talking about.  They take five minutes to claim they have a question, then make a statement of their world view that hints that they want to ask why reality doesn't fit. 

2.  Writing--you'd think English majors would be excellent writers.  You'd be wrong.  And it stems back to the communication issue.  My comp II students are capable of writing clearer, more organized, more focused and developed arguments and expository pieces than your standard English major, who is not trained in clear writing, but in obfuscation. 

3.  Research--no, actually, this one they're good at.  Understanding that research is a different matter, though, and English majors tend not to understand hard science, math, engineering, or technology.

4.  Critical thinking--no, they're not capable of this.  All they tend to be capable of is regurgitating far leftist talking points (focusing on Marxism or gender or queer theory), and finding ways in which their employer is an evil part of corporate culture that oppresses the masses, or women, or gays, or all at once, and getting their employers into legal trouble.  Not the types you want to hire...the only worse option would be a women's studies major, or a minority studies major.

5.  Empathy--yes, this one is good in sales.  Or in a lawyer.  It's pretty useless in an engineer, a computer programmer, or someone researching and designing new pharmaceutical treatments for things like cancer. 

I love my job.  I enjoyed every second of the homework for my bachelor's and master's degree in English.  However, my job is, and was designed to be, supplementary to my job as wife and mother.  No, really--my husband (then boyfriend) and I sat down and talked about the future at the end of my freshman year (he'd just graduated), and we discussed roles.  I'd thought, until I actually got into the class, that I could get an education degree, stop working when we had kids, then go back to work to pay for private school.  As we all know, I'm intelligent enough to lack any patience for bullshit whatsoever, and I ended up dropping the education major (while people who couldn't hack it in other majors because they were too hard dropped in). 

I spent a year after I graduated looking for a job.  I tried getting an agent or an editor so that I could write--no dice.  I tried working for a newspaper--no dice, they didn't want me.  Not even for secretary.  I worked, on and off, when I was needed, for the local science fiction and fantasy and role play games store.  That, I was actually good at: I could talk to people and find out the books they'd enjoyed, and point them toward more of the same in different authors. 

After a year, I gave up and took my GRE, and went for my Master's degree.  Odysseus and I agreed that teaching as an adjunct would work even better into childbearing and rearing. 

I couldn't have done it without the degree I have; however, I am under no illusions that other English majors have the same expectations and understanding about what their degree is worth: near-starvation wages for eleven hours a week on campus, and another twenty or so in the planning, grading, and dealing with the technical side of teaching while I'm at home.

I joke, sometimes, that if you get a Master's degree in English, you'll find a job that pays enough to buy the good Ramen. 

It's not a joke. 

Not if your average English major is the sole wage earner, not the support wage--which is normal with the bullshit that these poor girls are spoon fed, and buy into, by their radical feminist professors.

So, no: English majors aren't the hot new hires.  They're actually more worthless than your average kid straight out of high school who doesn't look for things that prove that their new employer is a sexist/capitalist pig, that they can use to get their employer in legal trouble.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sample #2

Again, below the break:

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's to the celebration of the first time communism failed!

No, really.  That's basically why the Pilgrims nearly starved. 

Enjoy your mountains of food, and keep in mind that the reason we have mountains of food to enjoy is because we are a capitalist nation.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sample chapter #1

Here's the first story chapter from Highway to Tartarus.  Since a certain too-busy beta reader has asked me ever so politely not to post spoilers (I'm lookin' at you, MSgt B), the sample is below the break.  I'll post the second chapter tomorrow, up through the end of what Amazon posts as the "look inside" feature (since that's a pain in the butt to use).


Today, tomorrow, and Friday are Thanksgiving Break on most college campuses nationwide.  Today, I'll be catching up on writing that I haven't gotten done (and trying to get ahead--aiming at 6,000-9,000 words today), and housework.  I have clean laundry to put away, and dirty laundry to wash.  Same with dishes. 

Odysseus has a few chores, now that his shoulder is recovered--first, and most important is getting the air conditioner out of the back room window, and getting that covered with something.  Covering the back door would probably also be a good idea, considering that the storm door absolutely doesn't do jack. 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  I need to contact my mother-in-law and see if there's anything she'd like for me to bring, and pack an overnight bag for the pixie (she was on Daddy's lap when he called to finalize plans, and ended up talking to Grandma, telling her how much the pixie missed Grandma and Grandpa, and a couple of "I love you"s in a sweet little voice).  Other than that...well, I need to try to get ahead on my writing, just in case I don't put any words on the page tomorrow. 

Friday...Friday, Odysseus will go get the pixie, and then we'll hunker down and hide from the barbarian horde Black Friday shoppers. And I'll write some more.  With luck, I'll be finished with a first draft of Resurgent by the end of Saturday...because I'm something like 2/3 of the way done, now. I'm on chapter 16 out of a planned 21 or so, plus epilogue. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just a quick question...

Would y'all like sample chapters, or do you just want me to shut up about Highway to Tartarus?  'Cause I can do either.  Or both. 

Let me know, because I really feel like I'm spamming y'all.

And a little bit more...

And here's the teaser from inside the front cover of Highway to Tartarus:

Life in Cramped Quarters…
As Rowan rounded the end of the U-shaped seating area, she found Fenrir curled on the floor in front of them.  Bathing.  Bathing himself rather intently, in fact.  And in only one spot.  She wrinkled her nose.  “Ew.  Guys?  Did you notice what he was doing?” she asked.
Both looked up from the blonde in next to nothing more than the boxing gloves to glance at her, then down at the wolf-turned-German Shepherd.  “Hey, now.  Go do that somewhere else,” Tyr said sternly.
Fenrir looked up, tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth.  Why?  Jealous? 
Thor gagged, and Tyr shook his head, reaching up with his right hand to pinch the bridge of his nose.  “No, disgusted.”
Open the door, then.  I can smell a pack of dogs with a few hot bitches running around the island, and I wouldn’t mind slumming a bit.”
“Hot…bitches?” Rowan choked out.  “You mean female dogs in heat?”
Isn’t that what I just said?  There was a distinct tone of confusion in the thought.
Rowan smiled, and glanced at the television, certain of the origin of that term in Fenrir’s vocabulary.  “Technically, yes, but…humans mean it differently.  They mean a beautiful woman that they’d like to take to bed.”
I do not see the difference,” Fenrir said, his head cocked to the side with his ears cocked forward, almost frowning.
“Human women don’t wait until they’re in season.  Humans—and gods, I guess—use sex for recreation, not just procreation.”
Fenrir’s ears flipped back flat to his head, and one side of his upper lip lifted as he heaved himself to his feet.  And you people call me disgusting. Open the door for me, please.


From the back cover...

Here's the back cover for Highway to Tartarus:

Insanity seems to run rampant in the immortal population, and Hades seems to be the one the Fates tap to contain them all; however, this time, Hades, and Kyra, the former goddess of War from Atlantis, have to find and catch the one who's gone dangerously insane: Deshayna, Kyra's identical twin, and the former goddess of Death.

Along for the ride are a pregnant Persephone, Hel from the Norse pantheon (and Hades' and Persephone's lover), Tyr and Thor, and Kyra's adopted daughter Rowan. 

The seven of them follow rumors, leads, and death-god connections around the world in an RV that's bigger on the inside than on the outside, while trying to maintain a bare semblance of normalcy despite the chaos of never knowing when or where their Fates-assigned mission will end...or if it will end them.
 Give it a download and read. 


I woke yesterday morning with a seriously terrible sinus headache...one that, despite medication being applied quickly, I couldn't shake until after it had turned into a migraine*. 

And it was one of the worst I'd had in years: blinding pain, light sensitivity, motion sensitivity, temperature sensitivity, sound sensitivity, and nausea.  Which really, really sucked, because despite this, I was still excited about the release of Highway to Tartaurus.  I just couldn't express it, or really celebrate it. 

Well, that, and I had to take care of a pair of noisemakers who can't feed themselves, and one who can't get drinks for herself or use the potty without help to clean up afterwards.  They tried, very hard, to stay quiet, though, when Mommy explained that she had a headache, and light and sound hurt Mommy's head. 

It's better, now.  Nothing that the proper application of caffeine won't help cure. 

Now, to write on Resurgent, since I wasn't able to yesterday, between grading student blogs and getting Highway on the road to being published...

*If I don't get rid of my sinus headaches fast, they always turn into migraines.  Does that happen to anyone else, or am I just special that way?  If I'm just special...well, I'd rather not be.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hey, hey!

Guess what?  You can place orders for Highway to Tartarus today!  Kindle is here, paperback is here

So, if you need a book to use to avoid...less than pleasant relatives...this Thanksgiving, go ahead and buy the Kindle version. 

And final tally on The Godshead...

80 copies of The Godshead were given away in the US, 11 in the UK, 7 in Denmark, 1 in Italy, and 3 in Canada, for a total of 102 copies given away.

And Highway to Tartarus is finished with the file review.  I'll be working through the final look today, and probably setting it to publish tonight or tomorrow.  It should be up for sale in a couple of days.

I've only got students coming in for help today.  Four hours of free time to do nothing but write, since I've got their papers graded.

This is a good thing, because I'm still sitting at just over 30,500 words on Resurgent

Today is the last day before Thanksgiving Break.  I'm going to be working hard to finish writing the first draft of Resurgent by Friday.  After that, I have a story to write by request: TinCan Assassin's daughter has asked me to write a story about her toy horse.  I'll see how that turns out.

I'm debating what to work on next year, after I finish writing Fire and Forge: Love Lives of the Gods.  It's gonna be a series of story chapters centered around Hephaestus and Sigyn (Loki's widow), with stories about others thrown in.  I'm gonna throw out the options, and see what you all think.

1. Lost Girls has, I think, come unstuck.  It's main character is a socially awkward vampire who takes in a human roommate--a young private eye who she saved from rape. 

2. Cold Fey Fire is a sort of a coming of age story--a young woman with a few issues leftover from growing from infancy to young adulthood in the foster care system finds out she's half elf, and neither side of her family (her mother's ancestors or her elf father) are willing to give her the space she needs to figure out who she is.  This is a rewrite of the first novel I ever wrote. 

3. CPA--not what you think: CPA stands for Certified Public Assassin.  In a world not too unlike ours, moral laws have all been repealed, and our assassin is working to pay off her late father's last medical bills so that her mother isn't sent to prison for fraud.

4. Welcome to Winston-Salem University--a young woman is accepted to a tiny university near Salem, Massachusetts that the students and faculty refer to as Weird Shit University, a place that has not only the usual humanities classes, but classes in different areas of occult studies, due to having untapped magical talent. 

The last option is...a little different.  I have a book idea based on a past life of the character Rowan from my Modern Gods books, set not long before the fall of Atlantis.  It is definitely going to be NC-17.  I initially wasn't sure about writing this book for more than just my own entertainment, because the character is very young when she kills for the first time, only a little bit older when she becomes the security for the bar, and runs away to be a mercenary at fourteen, when her foster father tries to press her into being a whore like her mother.  And violence isn't all.

So, what do you think?  Which option should I focus on after I finish Resurgent, the horse story, and Fire and Forge

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Highway to Tartarus update

The book is over at CreateSpace, undergoing file review.  I'll probably hear back tomorrow that I can continue, and keep working on getting this book put to bed this week.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

random ramblings

So the pixie has really turned a corner on potty training: she went a whole week without an accident, earning herself a new toy.  We took her to pick it out, and she ran all the way into Wal-Mart, dragging Daddy along behind her, then all the way back to the toy section.  She'd already decided what she wanted--the purple My Little Pony--and wanted to get it as fast as she could.  By the time I got the imp inside the store, she was halfway to the toy section. 

She came out carrying the plush toy, rather than the smaller, cheaper, plastic one (which was fine--it was still within her budget).  Apparently, the plastic one wasn't purple enough. 

The imp's favorite time of year is coming.  He loves Christmas, not for the gifts, but for the decorations.  He loves the trees, the lights, the tree decorations...everything.  When the lights start going up on the streets, his voice goes really soft and happy as he describes them.  I think it's really, really cute.  Even when he drags me to the Christmas tree displays in Wal-Mart or Sam's Club. 

He's getting really interested in going to school, now.  It's hard to explain to him that he is not going to any of the schools we drive past on a routine basis.  There is absolutely no way he is going to go to public school. 

The dog...doesn't seem to care that it's bloody cold out.  She wants to go out to her pen regardless of the temperatures.  She demands to go out to her pen, regardless.  She does not want to be a house dog. 

The cats...have gotten alternately squirrelly and heat-seeking.  Cricket has found one of the knitted toys I liberally sprayed down with catnip spray, and has been playing for an hour at a time, carrying this thing around, throwing it into the air, and catching it--all the while talking to it.  Constantly.  For an hour at a time, several times per day.  Her Siamese background is showing. 

Shadow, on the other hand, will steal the toy, and snuggle it on top of a heat vent.  While Cricket runs around yowling and looking for it. 

My students have turned in their last papers (and I've gotten said papers graded).  All that's left now is blogging.  I'll be grading their first week's blogs tomorrow, and they have three posts (comp II) or four (comp I) due between now and the end of semester. 

Which leaves me time to write. 

I have Highway to Tartarus edited and revised, according to what I heard from three of my four beta readers (ahem, MSgt B--I know you're busy, but you're the one I've not heard from), so I'm moving ahead with the publishing process.  My cover artist will be coming over to visit and play with the kids (and eat chili) this afternoon/evening, so I'll keep things going.  I'm hoping to publish sometime before Thanksgiving, so that you can buy copies for loved ones as Christmas presents (hint, hint).

Since that's so close, I'm giving The Godshead away.  E-copy only, and only this weekend (today and tomorrow left), but it's better than a poke in the eye, right?  If you haven't read it, but would like to, but weren't sure if the work of a relatively new author was worth three dollars, now's your chance to pick it up for free (or, if you have a friend that held that opinion, order them a free copy). 

So far, I've given away 53 copies in the U.S., nine in the U.K., five in Denmark, one in Italy, and two in Canada.  I can technically say that I have an international readership.  Even if it's not large.

And if any of you like my work, let me say that I'm very glad you do.  I've been telling myself stories for as long as I can remember, and I'm grateful for the chance to entertain others with them.

Friday, November 22, 2013

False. Self-serving.

Self-pitying.  Oh, poor me--I can't get ahead because I'm too far behind the starting line. 

Bull.  Shit. 

The reason she is poor is that she, and probably her single mother, made bad decision after bad decision after bad decision.  They don't make the bad decisions because they are poor--that is an excuse.

I understand where she's coming from.  I came from the same place.  There's a lot of rage, a lot of learned helplessness because yes, the game is rigged.  It's rigged by the very self-righteous do-gooders who claim to want to help the poor. 

But instead of helping, they make every fucking thing harder.  Minimum wage hikes makes jobs disappear.  The Affordable Care Act makes jobs disappear.  Watering down education makes jobs disappear, because employers know that those with only a high school diploma aren't capable of doing more than pushing a broom...which isn't worth minimum wage. 

The real reasons that the individual who wrote the essay makes poor decisions isn't that she doesn't know any better (which she fully admits).  Nor is it solely an inability to see the consequences of choices in front of her (which, yes, it kinda is, partially).

No, that individual makes poor choices because she can.  Nobody is making sure that she, personally, feels the consequences of her actions.  Staying in the San Francisco area is a choice.  She made that choice.  That choice is what leads to her staying below the bottom rung of society.  She had a baby, and kept the baby.  In that area, where she couldn't afford to live by herself in the first place.  And...instead of making sure that choice had consequences, and showing her a better option (i.e., flyover country, where minimum wage is a livable wage), she was given a better living by the sugar daddy government.

Her choices are what creates her environment.  Her environment does not create the choices.  It may explain them, but it certainly does not create them. 

I am a living example of what can be done by choosing wisely, and working your ass off.

FFOT: Forgot it was Friday...

I don't really have much to bitch about.  Have at it.

Free book!!!

The Godshead is free to download from today through Sunday...pass it on!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Great news!!!

I'm about a week away from publishing Highway to Tartarus.

So...for those of you who've read The Godshead, Highway to Tartarus is the sequel.  For those who have read The Godshead, and have friends who you think would like it, but who don't want to waste money on a self-published author...you can tell them that The Godshead will be available to download for free on Kindle this weekend.

Yes, you read right: The Godshead will be free on Kindle on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

One of my favorite cookie recipes

(By the way...I have a batch of these in the oven as we speak.)

Easier oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chip cookies

1 c butter (2 sticks) softened
1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 c oats
1 c dried sweetened cranberries (Craisins* or off brand--whichever you prefer)
1 c white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375.   2. Cream together butter and sugar.  3. Mix in eggs, milk and vanilla.  4. In separate container, mix flour, soda, salt, and oats; add slowly to butter mixture.  5. Stir in cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Decide how big you want your cookies to be, and choose teaspoon or tablespoon to drop dough onto cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-13 minutes until golden brown.

*The back of the Craisins package calls for 2/3 cup butter, and different proportions of everything else.  Makes a smaller batch, too.  This...this is a better recipe than theirs.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Time is flying...

So, today, I collected (several of) the last paper for my Comp I class.  I've skimmed through most of them in preparation to start grading them, and they look really good.  Like usual.  When I collect the rest of them (by midnight tonight), it shouldn't be more than an hour or two worth of work to grade. 

My Comp II class workshopped theirs today, and it will be due on Wednesday.  Theirs will take longer, because I'm also grading for MLA formatted works cited. 

After these papers are turned in, graded, and turned back, I may well not see my students again until next semester--my Comp I students started their blogging today, and Comp II will start theirs on Wednesday, and I've told them that they don't have to come to class, so long as they keep up with the blogging on days they're supposed to be in class. 

That just means...more time to write for me.  Three hours a day for the rest of this week, four hours on Monday of next week (classes are cancelled Tuesday afternoon on for Thanksgiving Break), and four hours a day for the next week. 

And then...semester is over.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wanna laugh until you cry?

Go read this.  It never fails to leave me breathless, with tears streaming.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


I have made some! 

We managed to get some books in the mail for TinCan Assassin, and then headed to PetSmart for some dog food. 

I noticed, last night, that our smart little dog will look at her food, and stir it around with her paw, then pick out the pale bits (dried chicken), and leave the dark kibble.  So, I'd planned to get a small bag of a different flavor of the same brand of dog food (Purina One).  The color is all uniform: the meat is lamb, not chicken. 

I'd forgotten, until we pulled into the parking lot, that PetSmart does adoption days on Saturdays.  There were about half a dozen dogs outside in kennel cages, all begging for attention (which the pixie was glad to grant).  Since today was rainy and windy, there were twice as many dogs inside.  Which delighted the pixie to no end. 

One little dog that had an owner charmed the pixie, and had her almost ready to climb down out of the cart: a lady had a French bulldog on a leash.  A white one.  A white one that looked like he was smiling, and sounded like he belched when he barked.  The pixie clapped her hands, and said, "Aw, the doggie said hello to me!"  Which had the dog's owner nearly melting into a puddle of goo.

(The pixie also squealed and giggled at the clutzy little mouse that couldn't seem to keep its feet in the wheel--or else would stop running and let momentum carry it around in a circle a couple of times before the wheel stopped.)

We found our dog food...and a new floor plate for the dog's kennel.  Dog HATES it.  She's been on the bare concrete for over a month, since the old plate split, and then SHE CHEWED THE THING TO PIECES.  So, I put the new floor in, and she balks at going in to go take a nap.  Will.  Not. 

And then she starts jumping up on the back door.  So, shrug--the rain's stopped, the sun's out, and the wind is quickly drying everything off.  Dog went outside.

I have a bribe for her, in a bit: I've put my worn out terrycloth bathrobe--her favorite bed--in the crate.  I will also put some treats in there.  The bed should stop it from rattling, and the treats are self-explanatory.

Now...off to go finish the laundry.

Random Ramblings

The imp spent last night, and will be spending tonight, with grandma and grandpa.  He was very whiny yesterday morning when I interrupted his cartoon time,until I drew his notice to his backpack.  Then, he got excited. 

The pixie is working toward getting a new toy.  She's gone since Wednesday with only one accident last night, and she thought that was going to be a fart, since she'd already pooped in the toilet.  I'm inclined to let that go, since it was a reasonable assumption.

Odysseus and my bedroom door needs to be repaired.  The door facing split--the people who re-did parts of the house before we bought it nailed the plate that keeps the door latched shut to the door facing. Which means that the door pops open with the least bump...which means that the cats don't stay out.  Especially not my co-dependent cat Cricket when I'm back there laying down with a headache.

Shadow and Cricket spent half an hour last night stalking a good-sized moth--it had about an inch and a half wing-span, and couldn't fly very high for very long.  They had a mega good time with that.  No, I don't know which of them actually caught and ate it. 

The dog still thinks she's Snoopy.  Her favorite place to be when she's outside in her pen is on top of her dog house. 

We still need to fix the back yard fence so that I can just turn the dog out the back door when she needs to go out.  But I have one question: how in the world do you keep a terrier who likes to dig from digging up the whole back yard?

So, we're not more than two weeks (plus one class day) from the end of semester.  Their last papers are due next week (Monday for the Comp I class, and Wednesday for the Comp II).  They'll spend the last two weeks blogging...and I've decided, since I'm done with lecture, that so long as they write the posts, that they don't have to come to class anymore.  (I can do that, since I'm in the library, not in the English department where I'd be told off for not forcing them to come whether they need to or not, and for letting them go early when we're done, instead of wasting their time.)

So, I've heard back from three out of the four beta readers who read Highway to Tartarus (MSgt B, you're the one I still need to hear from).  I've had a couple of suggestions for revision (details added here, or changed there), but unless the last reader offers substantial revision advice, the book is pretty much done, and will come out December 1. 

Other than that, I've been working on Resurgent.  It came unstuck big time, then stuck again, then has come unstuck for the second time when I abandoned the original outline entirely.  I started working on it on November 4, and I've been shooting for at least three thousand words per day.  Making it, most days.  Currently, I've got ten chapters out of a planned 20-25 written, at least in first draft format.  I'm hoping to finish the book by the end of the month, so I can set it aside and focus on something else over Christmas Break, which starts December 7, for me, and runs all the way through January 13.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Really.  Truly.  Cancer can fuck off and die.  I haven't lost many to it, but others have

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's not what it looks like, really!

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth; the kids kinda gave me hell, yesterday, and I'd rather not pass it on whining.

Other than that...I hit a snag writing Resurgent .  I ended up having to completely abandon my initial outline, and redo the whole thing.  It's flowing again, now, but I still only have about 18,500 words (about 43 pages).  Spent yesterday re-plotting the silly thing to un-snag it. 

I'll try to do better, but we're also heading up to the real grading crunch at the end of semester.  We have next week (three class periods), then one more class before Thanksgiving Break, then the first week of December is the last week of classes.

Wish me luck, and pray for my patience.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kinda interesting...

Did you know that the sun is acting in ways scientists didn't predict?  What a shock!  (Note the obligatory "this won't do anything to halt global warming!!!" religious hysteria at the end.)

Honestly, if they were that concerned, they'd work harder to repeal the ethanol mandate, which is demonstrably harming the environment by causing people to plow and plant corn in soil that isn't good for growing anything but grass.


Yesterday's high was 65 degrees.  Today's?  About half that.  We had a cold front plow into us last night.  When I got up to walk the dog, I checked the weather site to determine whether I could stay in my sweats or not.

Not.  Very much not.  We had a hard north wind, and a wind chill in the teens.  Time to bust out the flannel lined jeans.

Also...time for baked potato soup. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day

To any and all who read my blog, and who served in any capacity whatsoever...thank you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


So, I woke at four or so this morning with the feeling that I'd had a fever break: soaked with sweat (and I don't sweat), and feeling like I was roasting alive under the covers.  And when I got up with the kids, I felt worlds better than I had Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.  No longer sorer than shit, but with no energy or strength.

Yesterday, despite being sick, I managed to run the dishwasher three times after Odysseus had unclogged the drain--again--and put a chicken in the crock pot.  Today, I worked on the last load of stuff (including said crock pot), and managed a couple of loads of laundry. 

I think, had I not pushed with the dishes and the chicken yesterday, or the laundry today, I might not have spent the day feeling like a week old kitten: weak and wobbly. 

And, had I not spent so much time doing what I should have been doing, I could have gotten a lot more written than I did. 

Well, I suppose it's all part of being an adult. 

At least I've got pretty much four free hours tomorrow--both classes are pretty much done, except for the whole writing the actual last paper part.  So class time plus office hours equals a good solid chunk of writing time.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Random ramblings

So, the kids each got to spend a night at Grandma and Grandpa's, last week.  The pixie got Monday, and the imp got Tuesday.  And then Thursday, we wound up going up to visit my mother. 

The imp has been a happy boy for the past several days--he's been booted out the back door to play outside every day that it wasn't raining or soppy wet for the past week.  He's been incredibly well behaved, too, during the time he's been so very happy.  It just reinforces the fact that boys need time to run and play.  He's requested (and will get) a snowsuit and boots to play outside in, as winter comes in (and come it shall--we have snow in the forecast for early Tuesday morning.  No, it probably won't stick.)

The pixie is too prone to earaches, and it's been way too windy for her to go out. So, she's watched a lot of cartoons, played a lot with the little stove her grandma found at a flea market (one of the ones that are sixty dollars new, that Grandma found for ten), and her pots and pans and teapot.  She plays with her babies and her Barbies (three of which are Disney princesses), and gets me to come sit in her room while she plays.  When that happens, I usually end up with a teddy bear in my lap that she wants me to rock before she puts it to bed.

But I can tell: she wants to play outside, too.   Sometimes, I wish we had a garage we could use for them to play in.  It's not exactly the same, but it would give them space to run, which they don't have inside.

The cats are being normal cats.  As in, Shadow finds the nearest heating vent and spends the day sleeping on it (usually right under the dishwasher, right next to the dog's food and water), and to hell with the dog.  Cricket apparently thinks the carpeted floor is too cold for her toes and has been spending a lot of time leaping from the kids' desks to the couch, then leaping a solid ten feet from the end of the couch to nearly the middle of the kitchen. 

The dog has loved having her boy outside with her.  They play through the fence of her pen, since the backyard fence won't hold her safely, and he's slowly losing his fear of her as she plays with him without being able to jump up on him and knock his scrawny butt over.  Because the dog?  Is half the boy's weight. 

My students are doing incredibly well.  They've finished the lecture parts of the last paper early, so they have the rest of the time scheduled for the paper to actually write it.  I usually give them the freedom on free write days to email me to check in, and work on their papers in other places.  Which made yesterday tolerable, since I went to work sick, and didn't have lecture to give, or group work to supervise. 

It also gave me some extra time to write.

Which I did.  Resurgent is up to about a sixth of its projected length.  I'm working quickly because the story is coming quickly, and it's more fun to write than to lay around and do nothing.  I suspect I'll get a lot done on it this weekend--Odysseus is off work, and I'm downright sick. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

TinCan Assassin, you evil bastard...

He pointed me to Damn You, AutoCorrect.  I've wasted two hours on it, and now my ribs hurt.  This one, right here, is the one that really killed me.

Fuckweasel.  Instead of fuchsia.  Damn.  Just...damn. 

I'm cryin', here. 

'Bout time.

Looks like Louisiana is going to punish the individuals who used the failure of the EBT software to loot Walmart with the removal of their EBT benefits.


FFOT: eurg.

I'd found a story that pissed me off royally: here, a divorced or divorcing dad is being taken to court over whether or not he's a fit parent to his four year old boy, because he refused to take the kid to McDonalds. 

I was angry.  I wanted to cunt-punt the bitch ruining her child into orbit. 

And then...I started feeling kinda bad.  I gave it a little bit of time and a 32 oz bottle of water, thinking I might just need to drink some more, but just kept feeling worse.  Had a toddy, and it didn't help. 

I feel like I have the flu: all over aches, and my skin hurts.  And I have to work today.

And that can fuck off.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gonna be a long day.

We're going to visit my mother, today.  I love my mother to pieces, but it is a trial to deal with her.  She tells me that any toys she gets for my kids are only a loan, and when they're done with them, to bring them back for her other, future grandkids.

She's talking about the children she hopes my sister will have, someday.

My sister is thirty-one.  Lives at home--hides at home.  Doesn't go any closer to where she can find someone to date, much less marry and have children with, than sitting in the car while my crippled mother does the grocery shopping at Wal-Mart.  Barring a miracle that happened only once more than two thousand years ago, my sister will not be having children.

I love my mother.  I truly do.  But the woman is delusional, and it just seems...cruel to shatter some of them.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


We are half way through week 12 in a 16 week semester.  Week 15 is one day, with Wednesday and Friday off for Thanksgiving Break.  The first Friday in December is the last day of class.

Considering the fact that my students this semester are fucking awesome, and are completely done with the lecture days they need, I have smooth sailing until I have to grade the final essay, and lecture on the blogging.

Plenty of time to write, because there is seriously nothing else I'm doing.

She's lucky she's cute.

The pixie knocked on her door at twelve minutes 'til seven, this morning.  Since my alarm goes off at seven, I knew there was no way I'd get back to sleep.  Which sucks, since I got to writing last night, lost track of time, and got to bed around midnight--an hour later than I should have been to bed. 

I'm going to try to get my goals met earlier tonight.

Thank God for coffee.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Can't blog...

Gotta write.  Resurgent came unstuck.  Got almost 800 words in less than forty minutes...and then Odysseus got home with the pixie. 

Gonna go pick up where I left off.

More on Common Core...

Take a look here, and here.  Explain to me how forcing high school kids to read executive orders can possibly help them understand and maintain the culture that has been transmitted for more than a thousand years.  Explain to me exactly how this is not going to create a generation that refuses to read.

May God have mercy on the Common Core designers' souls (assuming they have them to begin with), because should I ever meet them, I will not.

Monday, November 4, 2013

...and done.

I just finished a re-read and rewrite of Highway to Tartarus.  The first draft weighed in at 71,500 words.  This second draft?  77,355 words.  About four (short) chapters added, and four with a significant amount added to. 

And the three volunteer beta readers (DaddyBear, TinCan Assassin, and MSgt B) should have it in their email inboxes right about...now.

Next up? Resurgent.  I'm going to see if I can knock out a draft by the middle of January (when classes start back up).  Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Has anybody else heard about this?

This article has some decently solid numbers on how many people are now without insurance BECAUSE of the "Affordable" Care Act.

The numbers of uninsured I remember from before the ass-rape of a law was passed was something around 42-47 million.  Now?  It's that many PLUS an extra 900,000 in California; 330,000 in Florida; 130,000 in Kentucky; 140,000 in Minnesota; and 400,000 in Georgia.  Unless my math is wrong, that adds 1.9 million more to the ranks of the uninsured.  And that's only in the states reported in the story. 

If this holds true for the whole nation, I'd estimate that they've destroyed the insurance for fifteen or twenty million people.  Because Florida?  Had around 30,000 people whose plans were grandfathered in.

I've seen numbers that there are roughly 14 million self-insured, and half of that number (at best figure) will have grandfathered plans.  I think ours is one of the grandfathered plans, but they've been tinkering with the rules to reduce the number of plans qualifying for grandfathered status. 

What I' expecting is to start seeing stories that insurance companies are starting to go bankrupt because of the onerous requirements that they're required to spend, and the limits on the amount of money they can take in that doesn't go directly back out for medical care for their customers. 

Especially once we consider all the extra people they'll have to hire to make sure they're still in compliance with the ever-changing goalposts of the "Affordable" Care Act.

Of all the junk email...

I'm not interested in Viagra or Cialis.  I'm not interested in Ashley Madison married dating. 

And I'm REALLY not interested in discount Lasic surgery.  If and when I get my eyes fixed, I don't think I'm going to trust the fly-by-night discount providers.

If anyone's interested...

There's a new short story posted up on The Godshead Tavern.

Quote of the week:

Area sheriff quoted in a local paper on the rise in home invasion robberies: “What do I think? I think they are pretty damn stupid. Somebody is going to get shot.”

Considering the fact that four out of every five households in the area have a firearm of some type in the home...he's right.  This area happens to be in southwest Missouri, not Illinois. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

random ramblings

I tried something, yesterday.  I let my son go without a nap, and go play in the back yard by himself while the pixie was sleeping.  This morning, most of the morning, he was very, very well behaved.  Much, much more so than his sister (who's prone to earache if there's the slightest hint of a cold breeze, so hasn't been allowed outside).

So, when I put the pixie down for a nap today, I booted him outside again.  Check on him ever little bit, only to find the happiest little imp in the whole wide world.  He's being incredibly good.  I'm thinking that, once it's time for him to come in, he's gonna have the opportunity to watch Thomas the Tank Engine a little more.

The pixie, on the other hand...has been a handful.  To put it mildly.  She's been trying to get up for the past hour (we put her down at 1:00 for her nap, and she's been trying to get up since 2:15).  Not gonna happen.  The time would pass quicker for her if she'd just go the fuck to sleep.

The kids had a blast on Halloween.  The pixie tried acting like the pirate she was dressed as: she'd grab some candy out of the bowl, put it in the imp's bucket, and while the people from whom she was begging candy were melting and going "Aww!!" she was going back to try to empty their candy bowls into her bag.  My imp went as a ghost.  We wound up draping a chain leash around him to try to keep his costume on a bit better...didn't work, but people loved the little ghost rattling his chain.

The dog was...pretty well behaved, for all of the strange people coming to the door (people that she desperately wanted to meet and play with, since I was home and handing out candy).  She was rather impossible to walk until long after the last trick or treater was gone.

The cats...vanished.  They don't like it when the doors are opening and closing frequently.  

We're not too far from the end of the semester.  Thanksgiving Break starts the Wednesday of the last week of November, and the last day of class is the first Friday of December.  I'm really kind of looking forward to it.  I'm gonna miss my office hours, but I'm looking forward to having an extra half-hour before I have to get up.

I'm trying to finish up the edit/revision of Highway to Tartarus this weekend.  This is aided by the fact that I literally can't do anything else.  I woke up with a twisted and painful back, and it's spent the day getting worse.  So...my plans for the rest of the day include laying flat on my back on my couch and writing.

Friday, November 1, 2013


You're walking along, and you walk past one of those ubiquitous blue mail boxes.  One of the big ones.  Sitting on top of it is a box.  You stop, and examine the situation. 

There is no one else on the street with you.

The box is sitting on top of the mailbox.  Not partially in.  Yes, it could fit in. 

So, you pick it up and look at it. 

Along with the usual mailing address and return address, there is a message scrawled across in Sharpie.  It says: "Do not open until Doomsday.  Love, Pandora."

What do you do?

FFOT: a list

Radical feminists.  Radical feminists can fuck the fuck off.  So can radical Leftists, the radical Right, radical Christians, rabid radical evangelical atheists, radical Muslims...basically radical anything.  I cannot stand radicals, or radicalism. 

Parents.  Selfish parents.  Selfish parents who don't bother teaching their sprogs how to behave, who decide to go to a pep rally at a local school instead of taking small children trick-or-treating early, who simply don't care enough about their children to be parents.  Those people can fuck off with a rusty coat hanger. 

My colleagues who are proponents of Common Core.  The Lexiles aren't the only thing that sucks donkey dick--the whole thing is designed to create cogs for the national machine, much like Brave New World created alphas, betas, deltas, and gammas to fill certain positions in society, only without the artificial creation of mental disabilities to ensure the bottom layer is happy in their positions. 

Tell me what's bugged you this week in the comments.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I knew it.

My colleagues are so fucking out of touch that they think Hemmingway is a developmentally appropriate read for third graders.  That's eight and nine year olds.  Never mind the (stated lack of) complexity of the vocabulary and sentence structure--what about the themes and imagery? 

Yep, according to the thcientific meathurements of the newly-invented "Lexiles," Mr. Popper's Penguins is more complex than To Kill a Mockingbird, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night is appropriate for a fifth grader in the complexity of sentence structure and vocabulary.  Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory--a violent celebration of anti-Christianity and Communism--is deemed appropriate for a third grader.

And my colleagues?  They say "Wouldn't it be wonderful if our elementary students read The Sun Also Rises?"

People wonder why I hold public schools in general and Common Core in specific in such contempt.  By their measures, the only thing complex enough for a high school reading level is a product and consumer safety manual (but then again, that's probably the aim of the program.  Damn them.). 

Catholic school.  It's the only thing outside of home schooling that I'll accept.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

For the married/"in a relationship" ladies...

1. If you are in a relationship, and you think it's too good to happen to you, and you start acting in ways to end it on your terms, he isn't the problem, you are; stop going to therapy*.

2. If you constantly shit-test your relationship to make sure your significant other is going to stay with you, and get mad when he doesn't put up with your shit, he's not the problem, you are; stop going to therapy.

3.  If you think that you're beautiful just the way you are, looking like Jabba the Hutt on your mobility scooter at twenty five (and without trying to change that), and are mad because there isn't a single man on the face of the earth willing to look at you without shuddering, they aren't the problem, you are; stop going to therapy.

4.  If you look at your marriage, realize you're not the absolute number one priority in his estimation and decide you're not happy, he isn't the problem, you are; stop going to therapy, and don't even think about divorce.

5.  If you look at your high-powered career and your life, realize it's not making you happy, and neither is your husband, he isn't the problem, you and your choices are; stop going to therapy. 

6.  If you realize that any of the above apply to you, realize that you wanted kids and now it's too late to have them, and are angry and resentful, your overall problem is radical feminism and the "you need therapy" culture that it spawned.  Take an early retirement and sign up to be a foster parent.

*Most modern therapy situations tell women that they're wonderful and perfect just the way they are, and men suck, and they shouldn't have to deal with those nasty creatures.  Which is very bad for a relationship.

Here's a good one...

Language warning: this is not the radio edit.

Thanks, and welcome...

Moe doesn't seem to have a blog, but welcome anyway.  Put your feet up and have something to drink.  I've got coffee, tea (hot or not), whiskey, hard cider, or cocoa. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Looks like it'd be something like $170 to fix my sewing machine.  The guy said the table by itself was worth more than we paid for it, at least, even if the table does really need refinished.

Now, to find an early Singer sewing machine that actually works...

Thanks and welcome

Thanks to PioneerPreppy for hitting that follower button.  There's a fresh pot of coffee just now finished and still hot--help yourself.  Or, if you'd prefer, we have tea.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Perspectives of a wife and mother

There's a Tennyson poem, The Princess, that has a stanza that I've never failed to react to:
Man for the field and woman for the hearth:
Man for the sword and for the needle she:
Man with the head and woman with the heart:
Man to command and woman to obey;
All else confusion.  --Tennyson, The Princess, Canto V
I first came across this when I was nineteen or twenty years old--in a later British literature class taught by a radical (though not man-hating) feminist.  So, of course, I was horribly offended by the implications that I wasn't fully as capable as any man.

As I have grown up, graduated college (and grad school), married, and had children, my reactions to it have...changed.  I don't read that stanza and automatically think "BULLSHIT!"  Not any more.  Not when I am half the size of most men, maybe a third of the physical strength (especially upper body), and prone, despite my best efforts, of going with my gut rather than my logic.

Yes, I am fully as intelligent as any man I have ever met (and smarter than some, even if I have less formal education than others).  I am as good a shot.  I am a better teacher than most of the men in the English department where I work.

Yet...yet.  Yet, I'd rather not have to worry about scheduling my classes around what's in my husband's and children's best interests, wondering if splitting my time and attention--even if for as little time as I do--isn't doing them a disservice.  I'd rather have all of my time, attention, and energy focused on my home, my children, and my husband (with writing and publishing being an exception to that).

I do handle the household budgeting, but I'm not the final decision maker on any of it. Odysseus is the one in charge--and that's the way I like it.  I am his back up.  I am in charge of the kids, and he is my backup on that.

The funny thing is that, were it not for spending all of my time in the campus library (I teach in the fourth floor classroom, and hold my office hours either there or in the coffee shop), my colleagues--feminists, all--would try to convince me that I'm wrong for feeling this way, for being happy in this, and would do their best to apply peer pressure to bring me back into line.*  And the funny thing about that is that these women pat themselves on the back in self-congratulation for being such advocates for women's free choice...to rejoin the work force, since that's the only choice which fits their agenda.

But having that as the only acceptable choice is equal to giving women no choice whatsoever...the very thing they claim to fight against.

Judging by the numbers of college educated women with a masters' degree or higher leaving the work force to care for their families, I am not alone in my preferences.  Nor am I alone in having the intestinal fortitude to tell feminism to go fly a kite.

However, I, and those like me who've chosen to focus their energy on their family, tend to be in their late twenties, at the youngest.  We're adults.  We've learned that those who tell us what we should be doing don't necessarily have our best interests in mind.

I think that the way this poem is taught--just this excerpt--by the people that teach it--radical feminists--is doing all young women a severe disservice.  It's really the root of all the depression and unhappiness in middle-class women: that feeling that they're in the wrong place, and that they're wrong to want to be in the place women are designed--by God, or simply by biological evolution, whichever you'd prefer to blame. 

*Peer pressure has never worked on me, and frequently makes the peers that try uncomfortable when it only makes me laugh in their faces.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Random ramblings

We took the imp to a nearby activity, today.  Someone about an hour away from us is obviously a model train enthusiast for whom the little model trains are no longer fulfilling the need.  In any case, they run little diesel powered copies of steam engines around a two mile narrow-gauge track.  Last weekend and this weekend, they'd decorated the track along Halloween themes. 

I don't think the imp cared about the decorations.  He rode, slack-faced in awe, and was quiet for the rest of the morning.  The pixie was very excited, and chirped about each and every "spooky" thing she saw. 

After that, we topped an already-wonderful day by taking the kids to Grandma and Grandpa's (and left the imp there for a couple of nights, which just makes things even better, by his books).

And, while we were gone, one of the cats managed to knock over the smaller trash can (for candy papers and the like, so that the kids don't go all the way into the kitchen when told to throw something away).  I'm pretty sure there was nothing in it that they were after (the catnip tea bag is in the bottom of the big trash), and that they were only playing.

I'm still pretty sure that, despite the dropping temperatures, the dog is not interested in being an indoor dog except for at night.  Or when the pixie doesn't eat all of her chicken nuggets.

I'm picking up papers from my Comp I students on Monday.  They're a couple of days ahead of where I thought they'd be, and are about to start their last paper.  My Comp II students are researching for their papers, which will be due not long before Thanksgiving.   Semester ends, for me, on December 6.  Really not long, now. 

I finished the first draft of Highway to Tartarus.  I'm currently working on revising.  There are a total of thirty-six stories, and I'm done with the first three (and, obviously, did nothing on it today).  Editing and revising never takes as long as the initial writing, so...close.  Very close. 

Friday, October 25, 2013


Yesterday, I got slammed with a headache around three or four.  Combination of sinus and I forgot to drink any fucking water

You might think it's difficult to forget to drink.  Normally, you'd be right, but...there are extenuating circumstances stretching back to Wednesday. 

Odysseus had some outdoor chores to do, so I put jackets on the kids to take them outside to wear some of their excess energy off.  The imp promptly flung a basketball into the pixie's face, knocking her over, and getting sent in the house and to his room.  Big fail there--he was only out for about five minutes.

And the imp wasn't the only one getting into mischief: Odysseus got out the ladder and fixed the gutter.  Then, he fixed himself.  The ladder went out from under him, and he hit the ground. 

I was still in the back yard, at that point.  The pixie was still wanting to play outside. 

So, I hear a yell and a thud, and run up front to find Odysseus sitting cross legged on the ground at the corner of the porch. 

He's okay.  Separated his shoulder a bit, but that's all, thank God. 

But he's in a sling, and I spent yesterday busy taking care of him and the house. 

Until I got hit with that headache (which still hasn't gone away).  At which point I went back to our room and laid down...and finished the book I'm working on.

And, to compound my stupidity in forgetting to drink any water yesterday, I didn't realize it until after I'd put the kids to bed.