Green's Hill-Amy Lane's Home - News

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Autism Awareness Blog Hop: Perfect

Hey all-- it's that time of year again for RJ Scott's wonderful and inspiring Autism Awareness Blog Hop.  You can find the masterpost--with the list of the great authors who've contributed RIGHT HERE.   It's definitely worth a read folks--do check it out.

Now, many of you know that while none of my children are on the autism spectrum, three of them do suffer through a range of neuro-atypical difficulties. The most difficult one of these to explain has been our oldest son, who is Communicatively Handicapped.

It doesn't sound like a real thing--I know. I mean, I know a number of men who freely admit to being communicatively handicapped on any given day. But the disability itself affects everything--from behavior to muscle tone to academics to socialization.  My son is 24 now, and we've worked hard to make him self-sufficient. He took six to nine units a semester and got his AA degree after five years of hard work. He's going for his BA, and that's impressive--especially considering initial assessments thought he'd be lucky if he ever learned to read. But he will never drive. He has only now become mature enough to think about dating. Working more than thirty hours a week will completely overwhelm him. Unexpected questions or social situations fluster him to the point of tears.

Cognitive disabilities are rated mild, moderate, or severe--and Big T was in the moderate range, which meant this disability would be something he would have to overcome in every aspect of his life as he matured to adulthood. His accomplishments are no small thing.

When he was a baby, getting him diagnosed so we could get help was a nightmare.

To start with, his pediatrician was not competent--and his father and I were new and uncertain parents.

"But doctor--he cries all the time."

"Yeah, they do that."

"Well, yeah--but I lost my job because we couldn't keep a babysitter."

"Well, you should be home with him anyway."  And for those of you who are like, "How could you let him speak to you like that?" I should mention--my mother-in-law felt the same way. In fact, she actively blamed me for the fact that he cried all the time, because I had gone back to work so we could afford the incompetent frickin' doctor. My own parents actively and vocally blamed me because I didn't work full time and they felt I "hovered".  I could not fuckin' win.

But back to diagnosis.

"But doctor--he's six months old and he can't hold a bottle."

"They get lazy."

"But he can't sit up, either--and that's a milestone, it's in all the books."

The doctor sat him up and he sagged like a half-full bag of rice. "Naw--he'll get there soon. He's fine."

"But he's not talking."

"Well talk to him."  (Seriously--you all have met me, right?)

"But he's not mobile and he's eleven months old."

"Look at that--he's walking."

"But he won't raise his hands to grab furniture. He's blocking with his chest!"

And so on.

Finally, when he turned two, he had a grand total of three words. That was it. Three. "Yes," "No," and "Ba". I'd had his younger sister by this time, and we were starting to realize that no--none of the behaviors he'd shown as an infant were normal. The lack of ability to transition, the lack of receptive language skills, the low muscle tone, the zero expressive language--something was getting in the way of his progress.  Hell--even his size. He was extraordinarily tall, but he ate too much--and that sounds like bad parenting, something I'll freely own--but when he was two, his father and I sat at the table half-asleep and realized hey--this kid had eaten half a pizza and wasn't slowing down. When he was tired, the same thing that hindered his muscle tone and coordination also failed to tell him he was full.  When he was four months old he could drink 24 oz of pumped breast milk in a sitting. (And brother, that was not comfortable--I'm saying.)

But explaining this--and getting it explained back to us--was difficult and frustrating to say the least.

The medical profession had sort of completely failed us--and have yet to regain our faith, honestly.

So the education system came into play, and we applied for a number of early intervention programs--all of which agreed with us. Something was not right. He could hear. He could respond. But there seemed to be a big thick wall between stimuli, cognition, and expression. (This is what makes communication handicaps so hard to diagnose, I think--his cognitive processes are AWESOME. His input and output station is full of rust and manned by slackers taking naps.)

His early test scores put him below 10th percentile in everything.

And the testing processes seemed to go on and on and on.  At one point we had to tape electrodes to his head and keep him up all night and try to do a sleep study. He was three! Ugh. That was a nightmare--and a failure--and his father and I were just up to our eyeballs and fucking DONE.

And that's when--driven by grief and desperation--Mate said something really profound that changed our entire approach. Changed, in fact, the way we would deal with our kids forever.

"Goddammit--all this testing to see what's wrong with him! Can't they see that he's PERFECT?"

Perfect.

Yes--I know. I just catalogued things he couldn't do. I didn't even mention the ten to twenty tantrums a day, the inability to process that a situation was going to change and he needed to change with it. Anyone dealing with this kid would not automatically think "perfect."

But oh God. He was. He hugged me every morning. He tried so hard to keep up with his cousins and talk and run and play. We could understand maybe one word in twenty, but he would babble to us about his day and his friends and the sky--oh, and his heart!  He played with his little sister so happily--even their fights were civilized. He would become captured by moments of beauty--he lost his balloons once at the park and cried inconsolably because he would never get them back. His sister could read at four years old, and he would pick up her books and recite what he thought were the contents, so he could read too.

He was so perfect.

We stopped the quest for the perfect disorder name not long after.

Quite frankly, we did not give a flying rat's fucking ass what the doctors wanted to call it. The education system had him enrolled in early intervention programs at two, long before the doctors even wanted to believe that we were right, and he needed intervention at all.

He was perfect.

There were things we could do--exercises, programs, classes, techniques--all geared to help him overcome whatever was getting in his way. We did those things--and he was so smart--so perfect--that he took what we could give him and he ran with it. When he was three his IEP said we needed to get his incidents of tantrums down to ten a day. When he was seven, his IEP said we needed to eliminate the one tantrum he had a week.

And things weren't easy--his disability will never go away. Explaining to him, multiple times, why he will probably never be capable of driving is something that continues to break my heart. Walking him through social scripts of dealing with teachers and counselors so he can ask coherently for the help he needs its time consuming and frustrating.

But it's worth it.

Because he's perfect.

So this is what works for my family. It's the belief that our children, when given the love and the help they need, will become the best and most perfect version of themselves. There's nothing in there about a free ride or a miracle cure--there's just the belief that the child we've been blessed with has all the ingredients to make our family complete. As parents, we just need to find the ways our kid is perfect.

 I've heard parents of children with disabilities talk about their own children--autism, Asperger's syndrome, OCD, ADHD, depression-- so many different ways a child can be thrown a curve ball by his or her own brain chemistry, it's truly astounding.

But every parent I've heard has the same belief.

There are difficulties, there are roadblocks, there are diagnoses and interventions.  There are acronyms and funded education, and non-profits and IEP's.

But all of it, all of the many approaches, the many things there are to learn about each and every disability comes down to wanting our perfect children to be as successful and as happy as we can possibly help them be.

In a world full of highly fallible humans, it's one of the closest ways we as parents come to perfection ourselves.




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Teasers...

So, Quickening Part 1 is out in LESS THAN A WEEK!!!!!

*pant pant wheeze wheeze pant*

Anyway--

To sort of get us in the mood I thought I'd share a teaser from Max and Renny, a couple who doesn't get a whole lot of play on the hill, mostly because Renny is at her best when she's non-verbal...

But they must have banter. And snark.

And claws and whiskers too.

So here's a teaser with Max and Renny in it, just to wet your whiskers.

*  *  *

Rabbits

Cory was sulking on the couch again and Max could barely refrain from turning into a cat and rubbing his nose with his paws.

Goddammit, she smelled pregnant.

Renny walked into the kitchen as Max made their sandwiches, and Max held his breath, waiting to see what kind of mood she'd be in. Her slender arms around his waist--good. Her sweet nuzzle against his back--also good.

Max wasn't sure what caused the change--it might have been that Cory yawned. It might have been that she started to shiver, because that's what she did when Bracken was outside hammering out drywall. Whatever it was she did, it reminded Renny that she was pregnant and the whole hill knew it.

Except Cory.

She snarled and raked Max's stomach with her claws as she changed.

"Nice," he snapped, because dammit, he was bleeding. "You're not getting a sandwich unless you turn human."

Her paw--delicate in proportion to her body but still the size of a saucer--snuck up onto the counter and pulled both sandwiches onto the ground.  She proceeded to eat them both, onions, mayonnaise, and all.

Max was raised to be a gentleman, and a gentleman did not call one's beloved a bitch, even when she'd just bogarted your sandwich.

"Garfield," he swore softly, and she ran an indignant claw over his naked calf as he went back to refrigerator for more sandwich fixins.

By the time he finished making his own sandwiches, Renny was sitting up on the island. "Chips," she said shortly, so Max grabbed a bag and opened it so they could both dig in.

"Sorry," she mumbled through a mouthful. ""m'twitchy."

Max couldn't blame her. Even as a human the smell as all over the front room.

Kittens. He could smell kittens. 

And mama cat was just sitting there, oblivious.

Max stuffed half a sandwich and some chips in his mouth and said, "Wanna go help Bracken?" through a full mouth.

"Jackrabbits," she said, then shoved another mouthful in. When she had that about swallowed, she turned into a cat again. Max got to the kitchen door and let her outside so she could trot down the landing and out into the world in general.

It would probably be more satisfying if the "banging out drywall" that the men professed to do in Teague's family house was actually what they were doing. But no--all the non-load-bearing walls had already been knocked down. What was left was actually framing walls and putting drywall back up.

It was much more of a finesse job, and Max was grateful for summers he'd spent in construction because he'd been giving Bracken and Nicky and Green pointers as they'd worked out their frustrations with the current situation.

Right now, it was just Bracken and Nicky, and Nicky was all about sitting on an ice chest and giving Bracken pointers.

"Sand it, big man. You know what Max told us--if you don't sand it all smooth before you put the primer on it, it's going to look like shit."

"If I sand it any harder I'm going to sand a hole through the middle," Bracken gritted. "Don't we have anything I can break?"

"Sorry," Max said, walking through the door. "But that wall is about sanded perfect. Let's move on to framing the kitchen. We've got the lumber and Bracken can pound nails--"

"Which is what he excels at," Nicky said smugly.

Max growled, almost feral.

"What crawled up your ass?"  Nicky asked, following him into the middle of the house where the lumber and supplies sat.

"My wife."

Nicky cracked upend Max's already crossed eyes crossed further as he tried to make that mental picture not happen.

"No, not that way. She's just... you know..."

"Not all human," Nicky said in sympathy.  "We get it."

"I just... I don't know what to do to make her less... freaked out. We all know what that smell is. We all know what it means. What we don't know is how Cory's going to react to it, and, well..."

"That's Renny's job," Nicky said with sympathy. "We get it. But apparently one does not just walk up to a girl and say, 'You screwed up and you're preggers.'  Or at least that's what Green told me when I got off the plane.  I seriously thought there would be a greeting card for that or a cake or something, but no. Just patience and time."

Max grunted, out of the one and unable to waste the other.

"Bracken, brother--you're going to need some help."

"Then come here and help me," Bracken ordered. "If I don't hit something with a hammer, I'm gonna fucking lose it."

"Word," Nicky said.  "Word."

Bracken and Nicky went in after a couple of hours--it was hot outside, no matter how much Green tried to control the temperature and Bracken didn't do well in the heat.  Max stayed in the construction site, talking desultorily to Lambent and Hallow when they came in to help, and then working alone as the evening shadows lengthened.

He was there when Renny trotted up to him, dropping a dead jackrabbit at his feet.

He looked at the thing and tried to find pity-- but he couldn't. His father had taken him hunting as a kid, and getting to do that as a cat was one of the coolest most trippy-awesome things of his life.

He squatted in the dust of the house and scratched his wife behind the ears. "I appreciate it," he said softly. "But we both know it's not going to make things better."

Penny licked his wrist, long, slow licks that rasped the skin off his arm, but he let her.

"We've got to be running out of jackrab--"

She meowed plaintively.

He stared at her, fascinated by her cat form as he was in her human form. She was... elusive. In their marriage bed, she was practically silk and air--right up until he climaxed, and then she was warm and human and real, holding him, laughing with him, licking his face. (Yes, in human form--he'd signed on with her in all her quirky glory, and being more cat than girl was part of that.)

Suddenly she was a girl, squatting naked in the lengthening shadows. "I was a bitch," she said quietly. "None of this is your fault. Come run with me. We can play in the pond. The littles will run from us and pretend to be mice."  She reached out and cupped her hand on his cheek. "There's bad shit out there," she said, her voice drifty and almost clairvoyant. "I can smell it. But not tonight."

Max nodded grimly, but then he cupped the back of her head and pulled her into a kiss.

She tasted like jackrabbit blood.

And wild thing.

And Renny.

He turned into a cat and left his clothes lying on the floor of the construction site. He had no doubts the sprits would return them to his and Renny's room, but in the meantime, his beloved was offering him a chance to be moonlight and death.

Max watched her, stretching as she bounded across Green's gardens, and followed her into a leaping frolic.

Moonlight and death.

What a beautiful thing to be.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

I think I've hit that point...

So, I leave for RT in a week, and I think I've hit that point...

You guys know that point?

Where the avalanche of stuff on your desk is so big, and your list of deadlines so huge, that you can't focus?

Like before you can do laundry and pack, you need to curl up in a little ball and go comatose and plan shit in your head.

Example?

Just as I sat down here to write about the stuff I had to do I remembered that I'd FORGOTTEN to take ZoomBoy to dance practice today.

But I remember lying down to nap and trying to pinpoint exactly what it was I was missing to do today, and getting "Blog tour...Did I set up the sale for the LG?... finish story... add extras... can I submit that thing before I leave?... you have two edits... you need to do laundry... did you get your swag in order?... what about that dress, DO YOU HAVE THE DRESS?... what about your hair?... makeup--all your makeup is crap... HOLY GOD DO THE ANIMALS HAVE FOOD?'  And that ran around my head until I literally fell asleep to escape it.

So that point.

It's this really surreal calm point as you try to plan all the chaos.

And it's distinctly uncomfortable.

Anyway...

So we went to a Republic game last night, and, as I always am, I was struck by the sheer gorgeousness of athletes in their prime. Maybe it's because I was never an athlete--and now a mile with the dogs a day feels like a booyah moment. But I watch the young people on the field, and they're SO fast, and they're SO strong--I'm just grateful I can try to capture them in fiction, is all.

But also, funny thing happened there--

Mate and I had premium seats, but we moved at halftime to sit with his friends, one of whom has been known to coach soccer herself. So Mate and Lauren are chatting about soccer--completely absorbed--and Lauren's husband, Derrick, looks at me and says, "Are they still at it?"

"Oh yeah--I'm glad he's got someone to talk to about it."

Derrick was like, "Yeah, sometimes I just have to call halt--I can't hear it anymore."

"I don't mind so much," I said, shrugging. "Besides, I talk about my job sometimes, and he's really nice about letting me bounce my ideas off him. 'A guy would really say that, right?' can be a really important question sometimes!"

Derrick definitely agreed.

Oh!

And this is a Chicken story.

She came with me to buy some swag bags and some T-shirts (the T-shirts were hers) and Squish came with me and generally we chatted and had fun.  Then, at the end, I was putting together "s'mores kits" for the baskets I'm giving out, and Chicken was loading bags at the grocery store.

In our travels she'd gotten a lollipop--one of the really big kinds--and she had that thing in her mouth and was just sort of doing her thing, oblivious to the 25-ish, attractive clerk tapping her on the shoulder.

"Uh, Miss? Miss? I can help with that. Would you like some help with that?"

We all knew the moment she realized he was addressing her-- she practically choked on her lollipop and her face exploded.

Her sister and I looked in horror as she started coughing, eyes and nose watering, and the clerk had to help her out while she tried not to choke and die.

"Smooth," I said, when she could finally breathe.

"I know," she wailed.

"Haven't seen moves like that since your father."

"Thank God there's precedent."

I comforted her on the way home--"I bet that happens to that guy a LOT--he was really cute."

"I hate you."

"I"m sorry--it's all I got."

"Still hating."

Well, she had reason.

And Squish had an awesome moment-- I put it on Twitter.

I ordered Geoffrey Symon's new book on Crime Scenes, and Squish saw it.

"Oh that's great! Are you going to share that with Karen (Rose)?  That way she'll know how many bodies will fit in the refrigerator!"

Mate heard her as he was walking by. "I thought we agreed, it depends on how well you chop them up!"

"Yes, but this book gives you TIPS!"

I mentioned this to Geoffrey and Karen on Twitter-- they adore Karen, and are big fans of Geoffrey's last book--and Karen thought that they would be the most popular kids in school if they knew good criminal procedure.

They seemed to think they would be too!

It's a good thing they love me, or I'd be a little worried...

And that's it!

Oh-- if you have any Kermit Flail to share, don't forget to e-mail me, okay? I want that post ready to go next  Sunday morning--I'm going to be in the airport and crotch of a slutty dawn o'clock.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lots of Different Stuff

So, I fell asleep last night appallingly early. I think it was the last of the cold kicking my ass, and a little bit of stress, and fear of the avalanche of stuff I might not be able to get to in the next week.

But mostly being sick and actually tired.

Anyway--

Some kid things to laugh about...

The "Easter bunny" got chicken a pretty little summer top--that Chicken eyed like some sort of skanky 80's tube top that came with hoop earrings, lipstick, a pack of cigarettes and three rubbers.

"Really? You want me to wear this?"

"It's adorable."

"Mom."

"If you don't like it, give it to your sister."

"I want it!" Squish said excitedly.

I really should have gotten a picture because it was adorable. Had a flirty peasanty little collar, flowers--it looked springy and cute, and Squish with her braid and her jeans was just too cute for words. Now this is the third new thing squish has gotten in the last couple of weeks, and she was sitting in the car today on the way to school.

"I am experiencing a style transition," she said sagely. "From, you know, mostly T-shirts and yoga pants, all casual, to jeans and blouses--you know. More structured."

"A style transition," I said blankly.

"Uh-huh."

"Well, good luck with that, Today's outfit is smashing."

Bless her. A style transition. When I experience a style transition I go from pajama pants to loose yoga shorts. She's actually growing up.

Now, this other thing I posted on FaceBook, and a few people looked at it and went, "Huh?"

But I think it deserves a little more attention than that, because it was ZoomBoy being AMAZINGLY clever.



Okay-- if you haven't heard this comedy bit, the rest of the story won't make sense--

https://youtu.be/i1eXkYl7a8U

Now, because I know most of you won't go listen to the comedy bit, I'll recap. (You should listen to it--it's HILARIOUS.)  It features two guys going into a diner and one of them dumping all his coins into the jukebox and playing Tom Jones's "What's New, Pussycat" seven times.   

Seven times.

Which is an eternity--especially if you listen to the song, because it's REALLY repetitive. 

Now the other song--and this one shows up in the middle of the lineup--is "It's Not Unusual"--and the point in the bit is that having it show up in the middle of the umpteenth rendition of "Whoa-a-whoa-whoa-" is like a breath of air before going back to being waterboarded again. 

So you need to keep that in mind before the rest of the story makes sense.

Anyway--

When we drive to dance, I am usually in zombie mode-- tired and just up from a nap that's too short.
ZoomBoy usually mans my phone as the DJ and Dropkick Murphys usually rule.

But today, he picked "What's New Pussycat."

Now is when you have to refer to the video--or just take my word for it.

Cause there I am, zombie mode, the driving dead, and suddenly Squish goes, "Hey-- did you repeat that song?"

"No," ZoomBoy said--COMPLETELY deadpan, mind you. "It's just a dip in the middle."

Suddenly my brain switched on.

"You little shit!" I laughed. "I'd better hear Rocky Road to Dublin RIGHT NOW or you're off DJ duty for LIFE!"

He could not stop cackling.

The next song was "It's Not Unusual"

Squish danced and snapped in the backseat, and I couldn't stop laughing.  

So, I got to dance and went in to watch the rehearsal. This is where (those of you who follow me on  Twitter may remember) the dance teacher shouted, "Hey! The Lane kids are lost again!" and I responded, "Stunned. STUNNED I am that my kids are lost on the dance floor." The fact is, my kids aren't bad--but they get into the mode of watching someone's feet and all their hard work falls to shit. We know it. It's a problem. They're working on it.

But in the meantime, I'm texting Mate about "What's New, Pussycat!"

He laughed, and then told me, Yeah--I got Rick-Rolled this morning. 

Oh my God. He looks so quiet. Little shit indeed.          

And on the Mate front--

Tonight I came out from folding clothes and he was watching MST3K. (Mystery Science Theater 3000) The premise is much like Cinema Craptastique, where the comedians watch the movie and rip it apart. Anyway, we're watching something in it with  Doug McClure, and Mate goes, "Oh yeah. I remember this movie!"

And I remember that when I met Mate, he was a kid barely out of high school and still living with his mom. Nobody had any money and it was the 80's-- sometimes watching shitty movies on network television was all a boy could afford, and he LOVED those movies with all his soul. 

So we had a good laugh over that, and then the next episode of the show started (one episode per crappy movie) and Mate goes, "Oh my God! I've seen this one TOO!"  

No movie is bad enough for my Mate.  (I am actually beaming with pride. It's such an adorkable quality. I could watch those shitty movies with him for the rest of our lives.)

And there you go! 

Hopefully I made up for falling asleep yesterday--but I may try to slip some fanfic in this weekend anyway.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Erranded to death...

Kid to school

Walk the dogs

Service the car

Shopping with Mom

The fabric store!

Home again

Daughter drives now

But first the pet store

Then there's Safeway

Lunch now please?

Parking lot hopping

Til Del Taco

Cause Mom's got a headache

Cause it's almost two.

Thank grown daughter

Get in the car

Get the kids
A stop at Starbucks

Unicorn Frappe--

Not until tomorrow?

Well unicorn poop!

Make some promises

Get them home

Shit, I've got work!

If I don't nap I'll die

Mate to the rescue!

Dishes done when I wake up!

Leftovers for dinner

Then it's time

To make some swag

Last night I was up

Until almost two

Tonight it's much shorter

Cause Mate's doing it too

A whole half hour

To watch TV

While working on sweater

For the kid who helped me.

And now I'm writing.

Post office tomorrow

And Thursday too

God I've got a lot to do.

On a plane in a week?

Or just a little bit more.

Seems I've sung

This song before.

But it's not getting old

And it's not getting twee

Cause I'm busy as hell

Right before RT.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ham ham ham ham...

So, VERY tired tonight--shall share a short dissertation on ham and what it apparently means to my family.

On Saturday night, I made a ham for the family. We were going to my parents for Easter potluck, but my kids REALLY love ham, and it was on sale for obvious reasons. I bought two.

Anyway, it was enjoyed on Saturday, and then we went to my parents' house and ate ALL THE THINGS Sunday, and then this morning...

I checked to make sure Squish was eating breakfast...

"So, uh, Squish. Whatcha eatin' there?"

She smiled around a mouthful.  "Something I found in the refrigerator."

"You know, there's also lobster mac and cheese leftover from yesterday."

"Mm... good dinner."

I thought this was cute--and gratifying, and then, as I was walking the dogs, I got a text from Chicken...

"I'm coming over."

"Do you want me to bring coffee after I'm done walking dogs?"

"Sure. Thanks. But I'm coming over to eat ham."

I got home and she was already comfortably ensconced on the chair, eating ham and mac and cheese. I made her a care package and said, "Now, remember to share this with your brother."

"Fine," she said. "But I swear to God if he comes into the living room after having cooked ALL the leftovers for himself and then gets all puzzled that I ask him for some, I'm going to beat him to death with my shoe."

"Uh, that's fair."

"Mom, you have no idea."

"Hello--I lived with him. I get it. Maybe explain that to him when you get home so we don't get any calls from the police."

"Whatever."

Now, me, being me, found these two exchanges to be fairly funny, so tonight when Mate get home I said, "Oh my God! I have things to tell you about ham!"

"What about it?" he said. "I took some to work for lunch. It was great! I'm so glad you got two!"

So, uh, there you go.

My family and ham.

It's apparently a thing.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

Lots of fun stuff today--but I'm a little tired, so I'll stick to the big stuff.

First of all, I chatted with a reader today, one who was, like all of us, worried about the state of the world. She shared with me this quote from Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, author, and human rights activist--and the words were good.

I told her I'd share them with you: (Paragraph divisions are mine, because auto formatting is a tricky beast.)

We must always take sides. 

Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.

 There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. 

All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.

 Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.

 There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win. Peace is our gift to each other. Hope is like peace. It is not a gift from God. It is a gift only we can give one another. 

I have not lost faith in God. I have moments of anger and protest. Sometimes I've been closer to him for that reason. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.

So we must struggle to make kindness and equality a real thing, wherever our universe. This is a true thing.

And on the family front...

*  I did an Easter treasure hunt with clues in the eggs and the kids loved it. *happy sigh*  I'm never going back to just eggs again.

*  Also-- my parents' driveway is sort of infamous--it's wiggly, and it's guarded by a gate with posts and rocks and a tricky thread the needle thing to back out--and the only way to go in is forward so you ALWAYS have to back out.  

Anyway--my folks give me shit every time I back out of it.

But today, Chicken came to visit after work--but she was SO SICK she didn't stay long. So she was backing out of the driveway and the car was squiggling all around and trying not to hit rocks and posts and I realized something.

Like my ADHD, my squirrelly temperament, my thing with words and my freckles, bad driving is something else that gets passed down the ages. *sigh*  Sorry Chicken.

*  My mom poured me a "whipped lemonade" today-- whipped cream vodka and lemonade. Nom.

*  And I'm still a little sick-- but then, so is ZoomBoy. Let's just say we both got back from grandmas and had to sleep for two hours before we could wake up to go to bed. 

*  A few years ago I published a cute little short with Wilde City Press in an anthology called Foolish Encounters. Sadly, Wilde City is no more, but since they gave me the rights to the story, I posted it on my website. Click here for The Fenestra Penetration-- and be prepared: VERY NSFW. 

On that note, I'm going to bed--I really am too sleepy to remember the other stuff that happened today, so that's my sign :-)




Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hey...

I know politics are scary out there--we're watching a greedy evil petty tyrant hurt our neighbors and take away our rights, while the men who are supposed to hold him back are picking their noses and calling themselves holy because they've never had to make a hard choice in their lives.

I'm angry too.

But I know a lot of you are frightened and are watching your Twitter feeds and news feeds and having a hard time breathing for the fear.

Think about what you did today--I know you, so many of you who read my blog.

Did you do something to make somebody happy?

Were you kind?

Did you gather with your family? Text a friend? Forgive someone for a small slight without even letting it fester?

Did you give to charity today, sign a petition, look at a protest march and think about how it could fit into your schedule? Did you buy a gift with a whole heart? Did you dye eggs with children, whether it's your religion or not?  (And Easter American style-- who actually knows or gives a shit where the traditions come from.  Chocolate. That's all we care about. And deviled eggs but only if someone in your family has a really rockin' recipe.) Did you hug someone with your entire body, until you couldn't hold the stretch anymore?

Did you write something you were proud of, or read something that touched your soul?

The Dunning-Kruger effect holds that the least competent people are the ones who jump into a difficult situation because they're really too stupid to know they can't do the job--witness the entire GOP and the traitor-in-chief at the moment. Dumbest motherfuckers on the planet, so busy destroying shit they can't even get the puppet hands out of their asses while they do it.

But the people who read my blog--I've met you. I've shaken your hands or hugged you at conventions and conferences, and you've given me joy just by telling me stories of your own lives.

You're smart.  You know what's important. You know what kind of world you want to live in. You take steps EVERY DAY--both the ordinary days and the frightening extraordinary ones--to make that happen.

You read romance because it gives you hope and faith and because you believe in love and kindness and giving back to the world more than you take from it.

No matter what tomorrow-- and the idiot-fuckhead-traitors jacking off to their own bombs-- brings, we know we have lived today with the most kindness, the most productivity, the most love we could possibly give to the world.  

And we will do so tomorrow.

And the next day.

And all the days we are blessed with to keep doing just that.

It's who we are. It's all we can do. It's the best we can do.

And knowing that lets me breathe through the day, when I am afraid (and sick--I admit it--ZoomBoy and I have had fevers all day) and tired.  Knowing that someone right now is reading a book I wrote because it gave them hope--that's why I'll keep writing tonight.

So breathe, if you can. Take a breath, and the next one, and the next one--and all the ones you're blessed with after that. You are loved. You have loved. You have worked for the best possible world you could without self-aggrandizement or hypocrisy.

Many of you have given all your talents to something that will make the world better.

Your talents, your effort, aren't in vain. Not even on scary days. You HAVE made the world better. Your kindness ALREADY matters. Nothing can change that.

Breathe. Hold your family. Keep doing good in the world.

Hope.

Have faith.

Work for change.

Hope some more.

It matters.

See you all Sunday-- we're doing a new thing for Easter this year. Let's see if it works :-)


Boop...

Okay so ZoomBoy is sick with a super sore throat and a fever, and I'm just sort of tired and cranky. Gonna be a blessedly short blogpost tonight, folks!

The few points of interest...

When you're feeling sort of punk, nothing beats vegging out on Berry Jello's couch and shotgunning a series.

In this case, I was shotgunning Walking Dead, and it's (as everyone has been saying for YEARS) amazing.

Knowing that I tend to proselytize things like television shows, writers, and musicians, I wonder how long it's going to be before my nearest and dearest are going to be saying things like, "Jesus Christ on a cracker, Amy, did you HAVE to show us the motherfuckin' zombies?"

Sweetie Baby Honeyface the cat cuddles with ZoomBoy when he's sick. Because that's just Sweetie Baby Honeyface's frickin' WAY.

Now that I've fallen in love with the cast of Walking Dead, I'm going to hate to see most of these poor fuckers die. (And seriously, anybody who doesn't know that was coming hasn't been paying attention to anything in the last five years. The same could be said for our current political clusterfuck as well, but, well, I'm cranky enough as it is.)

My characters had surprise sex last night, and when you're a writer and suddenly your characters are doing it without your permission, well, that could be the only time that's a good thing.

Last night as I sat and wrote, there was a giant THUD at the front door, and the dogs started barking their nuts off. I got up to check (because I AM the dead person in a horror movie, apparently) and when I opened the door, I realized that something had displaced it--shoved it back about an inch when it hadn't been completely shut. And the cat was there, glaring at me like I was a complete and total bitch for not letting her in sooner.  Yup. The cat almost opened the front door, and it's a shame she didn't do it completely because either way, I had to go change my drawers.

And tonight's going to be rough, cause ZB's throat hurts him a LOT, but we have a doc's appointment in the morning. Since it's raining outside, I'm not too keen on throwing him in the car and dragging him to a place o-germs, but dude... my baby HURTS and that's not cool.

And that's about it--hope you all are having a peaceful, healthy night.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Taxes

Predictably, we're late...

Mate:  Sum of Us?

Me: Politics. Or charity. Or sort of both.

Mate: Got it.

Mate: Avaaz?

Me: Politics. Or charity. Or sort of both.

Mate: Right.

Mate: Vistaprint.

Me: Work.

Mate (to self): Advertising...

Me: Sure.

Mate: Tarot.com

Me: Self-medication.

Mate: Lots of those when your books come out.

Me: Do I SEEM less neurotic?

Mate: I could make a case, but no. Not declaring it.  T-Fury, Tee-Spring, Zazzle...

Me: I was seduced by the internet.

Mate: I can't declare that.  Project Trevor?

Me: Charity.

Mate: Mod-Lily, Roaman's, Women Within...

Me: Uh, clothes?

Mate: Work related...

Me: Just not the pajamas.

Mate: That's a uniform.

Me: Fine. Work related.

Mate: Loopy Ewe?

Me: Self-medication.

Mate: Ah.

Me: Wait! No! I made things! Work related things! We can declare those! I have pictures! There were blog posts! It's... uh... public relations!

Mate: Yarn. As advertising.

Me: Sure.

Mate: $280 in Kansas City?

Me: Uh... oh! The thing!  The thing! I went to the thing!

Mate: *.*

Me: Uh, the uh, panels and people and cosplay and Robert Silverberg and...

Mate (to self): Conference...

Me: Yes! The thing!

Mate: Sure.  This guy here? Who's name I've never heard of?

Me: You've heard me talk about him all the time-- that's Andrew Gordon.

Mate: Sure. This guy here?

Me: We know him too. That's work.

Mate: And this?

Me: Yeah, we know him too. That's advertising.

Mate: I don't know any of these people.

Me: You've met them all!

Mate: Under different names. It's not my fault.

Me: Of course not. What else?

Mate: One more T-shirt company.

Me: That was after the election--self-medication.

Mate: I'm not declaring that. Corbin Fisher?

Me (without batting an eyelash): It's research.

Mate: Is Adam and Eve research?

Me (blushing): Uh, no. That's an, uh, personal expense.

Mate: Unbelievable.

Me: It's cheaper than Xanax.

Mate: Word. I'll leave you alone now. Go do your job with a computer and a blank page.

Me: Sure.

So, see? Taxes.