And Then There Was Peanut

I’m fucking tired.

I’m beyond fucking tired.  I’m so far beyond fucking tired, I’m into hitherto unknown lands of lassitude and lethargy.  I wake up with enough energy to just barely get out of bed, and somehow manage to stumble into the kitchen so I can caffeine up in the hopes that it’ll help get me to my next cup of tea. I stagger through the day, so goddamn unimpressed with the fact that the sun’s up and the kids are awake that I can’t even properly express myself.

Needless to say, I’m going to ramble a bit incoherently now.

See, I had a baby.

A girl baby.

Her name is Amber, but I call her Peanut.

And she’s the most adorable baby ever. Which makes it absolutely impossible to say “no” to her.

Here.  Let me show you.  After the jump.

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Spring Cleaning the Brain

I woke up this morning and didn’t want to get out of bed. The alarm kicked over and started beeping, so I rolled over and kicked Rick to hit the Snooze button. And proceeded to do this for the next 60 minutes. There’s something just awesome about coming out of the doze every 9 minutes to smack your husband and tell him to do something and not have to get out of bed to do it. Normally, I only get to do this an average of 2-3 times a morning, since the alarm’s usually set for 7:30. But because I had a godawfully early appointment on Monday, the alarm was set back an extra 45 minutes and it’s been that way ever since. That’s 5 more times I can smack Rick before I’m even fully awake.

But eventually, all good things must come to an end and when 8:00 rolls around, we simply have to get out of bed. The kids are awake, they need to be dressed, some semblance of nutrition has to be offered them. Beds have to be made, carpets need to be vacuumed, dishes need to be done. Websites need to be looked at and tea/coffee needs to be drank. Pre-K cartoons have to be turned on, because they’re not going to play themselves. Nosiree. The day has to start, whether I want it to or not.

Lately, the beginning of the morning is something I’ve been dreading. Everyone – including me – is getting sick of hearing me say this, but I’m now 40 weeks pregnant, and doing anything after being supine or immobile for long periods of time (like oh, say, 7-8 hours of sleeping) means a bunch of snaps, crackles and pops that wouldn’t go amiss in a bowl of Rice Krispies. The ligaments in my pelvis have been stretched and twisted to hell and back, so movement is actually painful until they loosen up again. Normally, this distracts me away from doing anything but the bare minimum.

But this morning, with the added bonus of an extra 5 instances of Rick-beating, I couldn’t help but notice how goddamn beautiful it is outside today. Yesterday, a light dust of snow fell. This morning, it looks bright and cheerful and warm and hopeful and sunny out my window. It’s enough to make me want to spring clean. Or maybe that’s just the nesting instinct finally kicking in. Sadly, there are too many chemicals I can’t sniff this late in the having-a-kid game, and there’s a weight limit to how much I can lift now. And it’s been nice, watching Rick run around and be my housebitch for the last few months… but on days like today, when I really want to clean something, I either can’t because of inherent risks or will not be allowed to, because I married an overprotective Southerner chock-full of testosterone and the sort of manly scent Old Spice claims to be able to wash away.

So I have to settle for some internal spring cleaning, and with that notion, today’s been set aside for me to winnow out the cobwebs and reorganize the disused and dusty corners of my brainpan.

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Aging Gracefully, Kicking and Screaming

You learn a lot of things from informercials. Especially ones you see in the ungodly hours of the morning, when you’re sitting in a waiting room with an uncomfortably full bladder and an 8-pound baby bouncing on it, just hoping your turn for the ultrasound machine comes up before you piss your pants. (Really, who the fuck tells a woman going into their 40th week of pregnancy to drink a litre of water and not pee for an hour before they smear cold jelly on your stomach and proceed to jab you in the bladder over and over again? Sadists, that’s who. Fucking sadists. I’m lucky if a mouthful of juice doesn’t send me running to the toilet, let alone an entire litre.)

But I digress.

So there I am, asscrack of 8am, yawning my way to a chair in the waiting room and hoping I can manage to be a big girl and hold my pee long enough to get this over with, when on Peachtree TV pops up an infomercial for some company called Youthology. A fairly attractive blonde who reminded me of Tea Leoni begins talking very seriously to me about how age, lifestyle and the sun are going to gang up and rape my face like it just dropped the soap in the prison showers. I’ll get crow’s feet, laugh lines, saggy dark circles under my eyes. I’ll look years older than I actually am.

But maybe I’m in my mid-20s to mid-30s and I’m unconcerned with the effects aging has on my skin. That’s fine, she tells me, and the sort of dismissal that’s in her tone I usually reserve for big-eyed children trying to steal my chocolate. If I’m unconcerned with lines, crow’s feet, and becoming a wrinkled, dried up old prune, then I can just ignore the next half hour of television, because she’s going to talk to everyone who’s not me.

If I could change the channel, sweetheart, I would. But this is the Ultrasound waiting area TV, and I don’t want to ask for the remote, since I’m sitting on a baby sitting on my bladder, and I’m afraid I might piss my pants if I stand up before I’m called in.

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On Writing Tools and Bullshit Excuses

This isn’t going to be a how-to post on writing; I’m not nearly full of myself enough to do one of those. I have no real writing credits under my belt, and I lack the energy to get really in depth on how I feel you should go about scribbling down words and getting them printed. And hopefully be paid for doing so. No, I’m not that girl. What I am is someone who’s struggling along with trying to find my own pace and place in the world o’ writing.

If you want to read a blog about tips and tricks to help you learn how to write, this is not the place for it. Try over at Chuck Wendig’s place; he’s a shameless hussy who sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, even though he smells slightly like guacamole and stale beard. Publisher sites like Tor, Harlequin, agency websites, Google searches for “how to write [whatever genre/style]”; finding appropriate podcasts. Individual authors’ websites often contain links to helpful articles, some of them even written by the authors themselves. The #amwriting community at Twitter has a billion and two links on advice and helpful tips run through it per hour. Research is your friend, my friend. Do some.

No, this blog is none of that. This blog is opinion-based, and thus is biased towards me. If this is helpful to you, great! What a serendipitous thing! If not, too bad. It’s not meant to be, and fuck you if you think it is.

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Monday Filler: Old Writing Instead of New

I’m 2100 words into “Vigil” and foreseeing at least another thousand five or two before I’ll call the first draft done.  The next flash scene of what I started with Friday’s “Suicidal Unicorn” is half-done in my head — and y’all need to blame Julie for encouraging me to write more of that — and while the next installment of “Infinite Space” looks to be postponed indefinitely, Rick has me more than intrigued to rewrite a spec script I did a few years back as a drama, “The Morning After”.

I’m also toying with the notion of posting a dark, experimental (for me) piece called “Eurydice”.  We’ll see about that one.

Until then, I offer a character piece I did a bit ago, dug from the very bowels of my Writing folder, for a story that may indeed one day go somewhere (but that day sure isn’t today).

—————————

“I’m sorry. No.”

He had his arm halfway around her shoulder again, congratulating himself on a job well done in landing her for the fifteen minutes it would take to get bored of her when the word “no” registered in his head.  “No?”

She shrugged his arm off her shoulders and took a step back.  “No.”

He tried his best to remember the last time a woman had said no to sex with him.  He thought long and hard, went all the way back to high school in his head, but all the women, whether they were tall or short, fat or thin, drop-dead gorgeous or just this side of living under a bridge were saying yes yes yes.  Now, for the first time, someone was actually telling him… “No?”

She arched an eyebrow. “Is the word itself given you trouble?  It means I’m not interested.”

He gave her his patented I’m-so-cute-just-love-me smile with extra wattage, knowing there were very few people in the world who could resist his charm.  “Are you sure? I guarantee it’d be the best time you’d ever had.”

She smirked, actually had the nerve to smirk.  “I highly doubt it.”

He scowled.  It wasn’t his best expression, but it still made him look brooding and dark, and that was key with a certain audience.  Maybe she was one of those types of people, and he certainly didn’t mind going slightly out of character for a better chance at getting laid.  “You know, sexpot, there are eight thousand women out there who’d love to be in your position right now.”

“Then why don’t you go bother some of them?” she said.  “I’m sure they’d be happy to save you the trouble by carving their own notches into your bedpost.”

For the life of him, he couldn’t understand this chick. Not even a little.  “No one’s ever said no to me before.”

“Then you were overdue. You should thank me for doing you that favor. Now, if you’ll excuse me…” And then the prettiest woman he’d ever laid eyes on, so smoking hot he wanted to cry, turned her back on him and walked away, disappearing into the crowd.

He watched her go, still frowning and confused.  He couldn’t even see her anymore past the mob of bodies in the garden, but he was still staring after her.

A hand on his arm brought him out of it.  He looked down to see an incredibly curvy blonde with a sweet girl-next-door kind of face and one hell of an impressive rack hiding under her t-shirt.  “Excuse me, um…Caleb?”

Instantly, he smiled as bright as he could and put his arm around her shoulder. “That’s me. What can I do for you?”

She went bright red, but smiled up at him.  “Um, hi.  My name’s Mindy and I just wanted to say, I thought your last album was—“

He mentally tuned her out, though he kept smiling and nodding and interjecting appropriate-sounding noises.  He was wondering exactly how hard this girl would be to get into bed when she slid her arm around his waist.  He grinned, downgraded her from uncertainty to definite groupie slut in his head, and figured he could make the minimum effort with lines.

He steered her towards the pool house, where the bright lights of the garden didn’t quite reach.  He fed her some mediocre bullshit about how pretty she looked while he traced a finger down her cheek, and she fell right out of her pants and into his.

Flash Friday: Suicidal Unicorns

I really have no idea where this came from.  It was a prompt I posted to #storystarters this morning, and it wouldn’t leave me alone.  It checks in at 833 words, and is far from the best thing I’ve ever written.  But the point is, I wrote it.  Yeah, I wrote it. Finished it.  Completed it.

Maybe some day I’ll do more with it.

———

The dragon selling hotdogs on the corner gave me the 411 on the dead unicorn. ‘His virgin met a guy,’ he said.  ‘One of those social media online deals. Flitter, or Twerp or somethin’. Left him last week.  Big hullabaloo.  I could hear the screamin’ from here, practically.  George was a fuckin’ mess after she walked out. I’m not surprised he offed hisself, yanno? Dames’ll do that to ya. Drive ya fuckin’ crazy, I mean.’

Didn’t I know it. I had a Tinkerbell wannabe at home, pixie dust and slutty little green dress and all.  She kept trying to get me to give her the clap, said it would help her become a real girl.  I was holding out, but one of these days I was gonna give in.  There was a limit to how many times I could find her in my boxers before my sanity went out the window.

‘Got a name on the virgin or the guy?’ I asked, overpaying for an undercooked Italian sausage. I slathered it with sauerkraut and mustard, took a big bite and tried not to think too hard on what kind of meat I was eating.  Dragons weren’t particularly known for their nutritional selectivity.  It might have been beef or pork, but it was just as likely rat or pigeon.  It tasted a bit funny, but that could have been just my imagination.  I piled more sauerkraut on, just in case.

The dragon scratched his snout, snorted a little flame.  “Yeah,” he said after a little while. “She had some fruity hippie name. Sky or Moonbeam or Rain or somethin’ like that.  Sunshine.  Yeah. That was it.  Sunshine.” I must have had a sceptical look on my face, cos the dragon got defensive then.  “I’m not makin’ this up, Macey.  The broad’s name was Sunshine.”

I shoved the last bite in my mouth, balled up the wax paper, shot for the garbage bin and missed completely.  “And the guy?” I asked after swallowing.

“How the fuck should I know?” the dragon shot back. “I sell franks and sausages, Mace. You’re the fuckin’ detective.  Detect, for chrissake.”

“Yeah, yeah.  Anything else?”

He scratched his snout again and shot a line of flame from his nostril onto the grill.  A glob of something else shot out of his nostril and splattered on the sausages slowly turning over the fire.  Lunch suddenly felt like a lump in my stomach, but I swallowed hard and tried not to think too hard about that either. “Yeah. George loved the shit outta that girl, but I can’t really blame her for walkin’, yanno?  You know unicorns.  Takes a special kinda woman ta deal with their protective macho bullshit.  Georgie had bad luck tryin’ ta find the right one.  Sunshine was the last of a long line, you know what I mean?”

Yeah, I knew what he meant, and I knew unicorns too.  Hell, just last week we’d had to break up a bar brawl involving two unicorns, their virgins and some drunk frat boys who had done nothing but ask the ladies to dance.  “Overprotective” didn’t even begin to cover how unicorns acted towards their women.

The dragon had given me some food for thought, and a couple of leads to chase down.  George the Unicorn had probably thrown himself off the Brooklyn Bridge, but maybe he hadn’t.  Maybe there’d been a fight or maybe he’d gotten pushed.  It was my job to figure that out.  I dropped a Jackson on top of the hot dog cart.  “Thanks for the info,” I said, “and for lunch, as underdone as it was.”

I didn’t see the Jackson disappear, but I knew it had made its way into the dragon’s pockets.  No scaly slinger of questionable meat worth his salt would lose a twenty so easily.  He shrugged. “I do what I can,” he said. “Now get the fuck outta here before you chase away all my clientele. They can smell when cops come around, and I got eggs ta feed.”

I did as he asked and walked back to my car, parked a block away with my elven partner hopefully still inside and not out chasing butterflies or flowers or whatever it was she did when I was out of her sight.  I was tired of it all suddenly; the two-ton unicorn road pizza, the Tinkerbell roommate, the dragon informant, the elf partner, the troll who trained me at the gym, the leprechaun who fixed my shoes last week… I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had any sort of meaningful interaction with an actual human being.

The sausage I’d eaten at the cart was rumbling around in my stomach.  I popped a couple of antacid tabs, rubbed my gut and wondered how long it would be before I could request a transfer out of Exotic Crimes.  Nothing against the elves and fairies and mythical beasties, but after a night like last night I just wanted to deal with normal people again.

On Growing Up Difficult

When I was a kid, I didn’t really think about having children of my own. I didn’t play with dollies. I didn’t dress them up or have tea parties with them or parade them around in toy prams while pretending to be their mother. My own mother was a working mom, and one who’d had me at a fairly young age too, so she wasn’t my primary caregiver. My grandparents were. And, don’t get me wrong, I think they did a fine job of teaching me values from when I was born to the age of 6 when Mom got married and we moved out of Nan and Pop’s house. I just didn’t have the sort of early childhood education that was conducive to stereotypically girly activities like dolls, pretend families and tea parties.

I don’t know if I was a particularly difficult child before the age of 6. Like most people, my memory from that time period is incredibly fuzzy, and I can only with the vaguest sense recall nothing but a handful of incidents my family now likes to remind me of – such as the time I swiped a shot glass of whiskey from my grandfather when I was 3, or the time I peed on his neck while he had me up long past my bedtime to watch the Canada Day fireworks when I was 2ish. I know I probably wasn’t an easy child to get along with, especially given the distance between my mother and I, with her having not been my primary caregiver for all those important formative years. But I can’t really say for sure, since Mom establishes that I am now, and always have been, the spawn of Satan.

Usually she’s joking, but sometimes she’s not, and it’s kinda hard to tell the difference from time to time.

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