The plague - at least my plague

I have the flu. It might be the plague, but we'll just call it the flu. By plague I mean evil virus that takes over your lungs and entire upper-respiratory system and bends it to its will. Not the other kind of plague.

This is of course the week that anyone who might remotely want to help me with this is out of town including my husband. OK, so it's only a couple of days that overlap while they're all gone. But it feels more dramatic to say a week.

Here are the things that go on when you're a mom and the plague comes to town:

1) Your 3 year old hears you cough and says "Mommy, I want to save you!" Then gives you a hug.

2) But, after coming out of the bathroom you find that the same delightful three year old has been eating brown sugar out of the pantry with a spoon... and trailing it across the kitchen floor.

3) Not to be outdone, the Boop, the five year old, was clearly "cooking" in the kitchen while I was on the sofa. I mean, I could see into the kitchen and she looked fine, but I couldn't see past her shoulders. I thought she was having a nice snack at the table (banana and crackers). What I found when I dragged myself over there was that she'd sliced the banana in 10 fifty cent sized pieces, left the peel all over the table, and combined brown sugar with something liquid in two bowls and was preparing to add raisins to it when I intercepted her. I need to buy more brown sugar. And mop the floor.

4) As a side note, cough syrup should work, not just taste bad.

5) Your 5 year old declares that her Barbies all have fevers and upon inspection you find them laid out in the bathroom on a towel with "cold compresses" (her words) of wet toilet paper all over them. They looked like soggy, Barbie mummies. And if you think the wet toilet paper stayed in the bathroom and didn't require a much more extensive clean up, you've forgotten already that I have a three year old.

6) You move from the sofa to the kitchen and your five year old shouts, "You're moving! Are you healed? Are you all better! Look, you stood up!"

7) Also, I had a weird desire to do all the laundry in the house. I think this comes from a case of cabin fever. I'm very susceptible to cabin fever and all the hallucinations that come with it. Now I'm faced with a pile of clean laundry that I think might win in a battle. It looks like a 50's horror slime monster, only clean clothes, not slime.

Signing off now. The monster, the zombie, and the red bird (all names given and enforced by the three year old for himself, Boop, and his big sister) are getting ready for bed. Yes, it's only 7:30, why do you ask?

When fiction, baby goat sweaters, and chatty Fed Ex guys collide

I promised my friend that I would knit sweaters for his baby goats. His goat was pregnant, but I had no idea what the gestational period was for a goat. I figured I had time, though, because as I remembered, pregnancy basically lasts forever.

Except when you're a goat. I'd just proudly completed one sweater, when I woke up to photos of the brand new baby goats on Facebook Monday morning... so I cast on and knit like the wind! The baby goats will be cold! I must discharge my duty! My needles were flying! I knit standing up, while making lunch, through hula class. I wisely chose not to knit while driving. And then I finished with sore fingers and a big sigh of relief just in time to mail the sweaters off that same day. We went straight from hula where I'd had to weave in ends with my bare hands because I forgot my needle and Boop was still swishing her hips next to me and eyeing the candy counter while I eyed the Ground Delivery truck getting ready to leave in the parking lot. I plopped the sweaters on the counter and looked for help.

Which I got from a very chatty Fed Ex guy. The goat sweaters were quirky enough. I figured that would buy me enough small talk to get the package on the truck and race home to make dinner.

But no, we got to chatting about how he plays online games with his kids, and I mentioned that I did, too, all the while filling out address forms and declining insurance (the money's in the fingers!). He asked which games I played. I rattled them off. (Driving Kids anyone? MMPORGs for the 3 year old set are all the rage, especially when narrated by robots with indiscernible accents.) He knew them all. Wow, he'd never met anyone who gamed with their kids like he did. So to lend a little credibility, I mentioned that I'd worked testing video games for a while. Wouldn't want him to think I was telling tales. That job was for about 9 months about 7 years ago, and I used a lot of the experience in the YA noir book that an agent is reading *right now*.

So, he said he play tested games for EA and rattled off all the titles he worked on - where did I work? What titles did I work on?

Now in my defense, I had been knitting frantically all day, and Boop was twirling closer and closer to the Red Vines, but I tell you the only things that came to mind was the name of the company my main character worked for and all the fictional games he'd tested. Not a single real title could I recall. I nearly blurted out "The Virtz" which I'd subbed in for The Sims, but had never actually tested. Five more came to mind, all fictional. I managed to describe the company, but the only name I could think of was Playbox Labs. And we all know there's no such thing as a Playbox, folks.

I'm sure there's a moral here. Maybe - always find out the gestational period of a goat.

Things said by Mystery Man this morning

On walking into the bathroom...
"Oh my, there's Daddy Giant's tooth brush"

On watching me walk into the bedroom to get his jeans
"Oh my, it very dark in here. You ok? It really very dark and scary"

On realizing Boop was home with Daddy as we drove to school
"Oh, we missing a zombie!"

On watching Red walk off to school,
"There goes the Red Bird! I tell her watch out for cars. Now, let's go get a hot cocoa."

On coming home and seeing his Red Robin balloon
"Oh, there my balloon. It wake up and ready to play."

As you can see, he's fond of exclamations, a slight British speak that I can't explain, and has renamed everyone in the house. DH and I are both Giants. Boop is Zombie (not a name she loves, by the way) and Red is "the red bird." Pretty sure that's because she sleeps in the highest bunk, or "her nest" that he has to "climb the tree" to get into.


I know you all know what's going on. Images are everywhere. These are two that I wanted to share.

If you go here you can see before and after shots from Google Earth of some of the major areas hit by the earthquake and tsunami. It's an incredible use of technology to give you a sense of the destruction.

And this from The Weekly Magazine A very scared giant panda, grabbing hold of a policeman.

I've been able to check on my friends there to make sure they are alright. Facebook and forums are such a blessing in that way. I hope your friends are alright, too.

Monday, my nemesis

Monday was such a Monday I couldn't write about it till Tuesday. And now look, it's Wednesday and it's just now posting. That's what Monday does sometimes.

Have I mentioned that my ipod is missing? It is. Because I'm a softie and let my 3 year old play Angry Birds. The really sad thing about this last disappearance is that it was only found for a few minutes. Boop had taken it to bed and fallen asleep with it and it wedged inbetween her mattress and the bed slats. But I kinda knew that, and I wasn't too worried. So she found it, and I was happy and then Mystery Man took it and went behind the sofa and now I can't find it. And yes, I've looked behind the sofa.

So Monday, I decided I *would* find my ipod! I looked everywhere (and by the way, let's just get it out there that this is not a story that ends with me finding my ipod). I had dust in my hair from sticking my head in places where heads and dust cloths hadn't been stuck in a loooong time. While I did this, I couldn't help but notice the heating vent... with all the playing cards stuck down there.

In the back, far recesses of my mind I've long been afraid that my ipod slid down a heating vent. Now I don't really think it would fit, but I haven't been able to test this theory, so I pulled the vent off, and pried all the cards from between the little slats. Then I looked down the shaft. Hmphf. More cards. And who knows what else. I don't like sticking my hand down a long tube that goes under the house that I can't see the end of. I start to think about long skinny things with big jaws that might bite my fingers off. Probably this isn't a fear grounded in reality, but if we *did* have one of those nasty serpants from Harry Potter, this is where it would live. So I can't help but sort of scrunch my eyes closed as I stick my hand down the hole. And then...

GAH!!! Something bit my hand! I pull it out and it's bleeding. And I'm still reeling from the fact that I'm RIGHT! Something DOES live under the house when I realize it's one of the rusty screws sticking out of the tube that I ripped my hand on while I was closing my eyes. Whoops. This means I call the regular doctor about a tetanus shot instead of some kind of magical creature containment unit. Which is good, because this is the phone number I know.

And there was no ipod down the tube. So I go wash my wound out, only to knock over a jar of coins. Into the sink. And I clean them up with gritted teeth while Boop runs all over looking for just the right band aid and I wait for a call back about this whole tetanus shot thing. And then the groceries get here. And I have to clean out the fridge, which leads to lots of leftovers sitting next to my sink that I put off sending down the garbage disposal till midnight. At which point, I realize where those missing coins ended up.

So the night ends as it began, with my sticking my hand down another long dark tube, fishing out things that are not my ipod and hoping not to get bit.

Fortunately, I've got 5 more days till Monday and I meet again. I'm preparing with more coffee next time.

Catching up

I know I've been a little quieter here lately. I'm querying for the steampunk book right now, and still getting requests for the book I wrote before that (remember when the blog was all blue and mysterious...) so there's been lots of agent research and revising going on here. Querying is always a little bit nervewracking. It's so hard not to check my gmail address all day long. There may not be a message now, but... how 'bout NOW! *shakes head at self* Sometimes I long for the good ol' days of mailboxes when there could only be news once a day. But, I mean, not really. It's not like I'm giving up email anytime soon.

And, the last time I checked email "just one more time" I found out I won a copy of Veronica Roth's Divergent. FUN!!! I won in a Goodreads contest, so of course I'll be posting about the book over there after I get it and I promise to link you. If you haven't heard of this one, you should go check out Veronica's blog and here's the Goodreads link

Finally, I'll leave you with another photo clue about the new novel I'm working on.