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

Friday, June 24, 2016

Sorry about that...

So, yesterday I attempted to send a truckload of photos to my computer and the internet crashed like a train without brakes.

Today, I have endeavored to save the pictures until I'm home and have some real internet, but I thought I could share a few moments from the vacation thus far:

*  The kids went on the drysuit dive at the aquarium and had a very good time! They were also really tired at the end and we came back to the hotel room a little early. Don't know what to tell you about that-- they were tuckered!

*  Cute things about the dive-- ZoomBoy's feet. Seriously, they were so big they slowed everything down. Squish's hair-- it was a bright red rope leading us to her.  Like I said, cute.

*  Chicken has had a very good time with her siblings. Today, as Mate and I were getting out of the car to go check out an overlook we heard her tell her brother and sister, "You were awful, awful people as small children. You have no idea."

* We were walking down Cannery Row today at the end of our stay, when the kids ran into an arcade. "I'm noping out of this," I said, and Chicken and I went and got cookies while I told her about the last time they'd been to one of those places and Squish had won 500 tickets.

"So your dad texts me about wtf are you, and Squish is just watching mounds of mounds of tickets print out. And then they had to buy their prize, and they chose the classic Disney Channel ploy of combining their tickets for one big prize, and of course that ended in bloodshed, pain, and recriminations that continue on to this day."

She laughed.

We went to join the kids and ZoomBoy walked by the exact same game from Santa Cruz. "Look! This is the same game Squish won before she betrayed me with a knife in the back."

And then Chicken really laughed.

*  Of course, at some point I had to pee. I ended up in a Starbucks line, in front of their one working bathroom, while a bunch of us stared yearningly at the bathroom that was out of order.  Three young people, two girls and a young man were in line behind me.

"I can't wait," said one of the girls.

"Please let me go first!" begged the boy.

"No!" said the other girl. "I'm a very fast pee-er, you told me that once. You said I was a freak of nature."

"You'd better be!" the young man practically wept.

"Hey!" the first girl said. "I just have to pee. I'm not laying a deuce. And--" She ripped off the sign.  "It's not like I saw a sign or--" she pushed at the trash can in front of the door, "anything that said this bathroom wouldn't work!"  And then she disappeared, leaving her two friends doing the pee pee dance behind me.

"Here," I said, putting away my phone.  "I can go really fast. See? Old-lady stretch jeans. I'll blow your mind, I swear."  The next person left the bathroom and I took my turn, coming out while drying my hands.  "There you go!" I said brightly.

The girl "eeped" and disappeared into the bathroom, while her young male friend said, "Oh my God, that was amazing. I'm so impressed."

"Four kids," I said calmly. "Do you think I don't know how to put a rush on it?"

*  Mate is once again impressed with the aquarium. We saw the Vive Baja exhibit, and they had fighting garden eels and a couple of very fat and friendly lizards who apparently loved us enough to stalk Squish from one end of the enclosure to another.

So there you go-- we get home tomorrow and I promise some pictures then!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets

So I got a text last night from Big T:

Mom, where's Steve?

I don't know. She's a cat and we're 100 miles away.

I haven't seen her all day.

She was in the bathroom this morning. We communed.

I looked. She wasn't in there.

I spend a moment of horror to think of T in my bathroom, and then move on:

So here's what you do:
You open the sliding glass door and sit down to watch television. Then when you're ready to go to sleep, stand up and stretch. The dogs should run out and the cat should run in.


This morning, I texted him:

So, did it work?


Did you find my cat?

Yes. She was in the closet.

Which closet?
The linen one.

Fucking cat.

Why did she do that, mom. Why?

Because she's a cat. I bet the dogs were going apeshit.


So, that's what happened at home while I was gone.

What happened at the amusement park was sweet. For starters, Tuesday in the summer is THE time for a 6Flags park. Hardly anyone was there, and Mate and the kids got to ride roller coasters until they were TIRED of roller coasters. I sat in the shade with my buddy the elephant and knitted, and then when we got to see shows together, or walk together from one thing to the next, I wasn't tired or too much in pain, or too irritated. I think giving myself permission to not be there for every waking moment of vacation paid off. I was a much happier mommy, and the kids had a great time.

Today we drove down to Monterey-- much banter ensued in the car, including the following tweet from me (right before I got too carsick to phone surf):

Mate, as we pass a motorcycle with a passenger and saddlebags: That'll never be us. Me: Why? Mate: Cause you could NEVER pack that small!

And I shall mangle MacBeth here with a "Too nice, and yet too true."  I filled the big suitcase because I felt like it. So there.

Mate is as Target as I blog, btw-- went to get ZoomBoy an air mattress, because we forgot the other one at home.  Me and the girls are chillin', and I'm fine with that. Vacation for me is not HAVING to do anything. Today, that includes shopping at Target. (Believe me, last two weeks, me and Target were best buds.)

So, not bungee jumping but not bad either--tomorrow, there shall be the aquarium and hopefully some beach. YAYAYAYAY!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

It happens every night...

About five minutes ago, I stood up and stretched.

The dogs, seeing that my nightly work time is nearing its end, haul ass out the barely open back door, bark at the cat, and chase her back inside.

She comes inside with a wounded dignity, and they prance in after her, proud that they have done her job.

"See!" I burst out.

Mate--who was working on the couch next to me--said, "Sure. I saw."

"I told you!"

"I know."

"They do that every night!" Every damned night. No lie.

"So you've said."

"They herd her in-- they don't want her outside when the door's closed."  I mean, aww!!

"It's very cute."

"Yes, yes it is."

"They can go to bed now."

"I"m saying." Because it's like the last thing on their to-do list, like closing the door and turning off the lights.

"Can we?"

So, yeah-- going to bed.  We have a big day tomorrow-- we're driving to Vallejo, playing at 6 Flags, staying the night and driving to Monterey.  Blogging may get a bit spotty, but I'll try to check in on FB and Twitter-- wish us luck! We're taking Chicken, Squish, and Zoomboy-- and I'm looking forward to it.



Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day for Mate

I wrote a post on FB about how much Mate--and good parents in general, and people trying to be parents--mean to the world, and about how much good they do. We tried to tell Mate today how much he meant to us, in ways both great and small.

These ways included--

* Letting him pick the restaurant.

* Giving him the most time with the video controller.

* Letting him pick dessert. (Baskin Robbins--whole family approved.)

* Seeing his mom for lunch.

* Letting him watch the last game of the NBA finals when we got home.

* Serving him dinner while he was watching.

* Watching his favorite movie-- The Thin Man-- with him.

* Sending the kids to bed so he could have the video games again.

And, of course, loving him with all of our hearts.

As I said on FB:

I wish a Mate or a Pete (my dad) for everyone. I wish healing and kindness for those who were not so fortunate. I wish flowers and sweetness for those whose mom or moms did a dad's job and did it damned well.

I wish a beautiful Sunday with rest and love and a favorite food and maybe a movie for everyone who has ever loved a parent or tried to parent and knows that it's a big deal and nothing to take for granted.

-- For the record, that beautiful Sunday is exactly what my family and I got and gave. Hope it was awesome for you guys too.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Recital Day

The following things may or may not have happened during recital and rehearsal during the last two days...

*  I may have possibly gotten lost going to a place I've been a zillion times because I followed my phone for a freeway interchange instead of my own damned common sense.

*  It is possibly that, when told I needed to fix the costumes of 10 little girls before I got them completely dressed, my response was, "Oh no, that's not going to happen if there's still only one of me tomorrow."

*  I most definitely put two little girls in jeans that did not at all belong to them today, because they did not arrive with their own jeans for their costumes.

* After getting the little girls undressed, dressed, in proper shoes, with tutus, feather cummerbunds, and feather crowns ALL IMMEDIATELY, AS INSTRUCTED, AFTER THEY ARRIVED, after five of them got taken to the bathroom, it is possible-- possible, mind you--that when the costume director returned with an armload of tutus and cummerbunds, I may have cried.

* I'm pretty sure I did yell at grown women to stop standing in front of the closed circuit TV set so that I might watch my OWN KIDS dance, because I wasn't going to make it back to the stage in time, and they weren't moving.

*  Mate, the kids and I may have gotten there just by the skin of our teeth today because, well, moving earlier was just not going to happen.

* Squish may have needed to cry because she was so tired at the end.

*  We all DEFINITELY got to my parents' house after recital just in time for Big T to get a marvelous cake and darling chocolate decorations in celebration of his graduation. None of us were expecting it, but I was so glad to see my parents make a big deal out of him.

*  Chicken may have laughed until she couldn't breathe because her little brother's costumes were just not fitting AT ALL.

*  By the end of my two weeks with the ten little girls known only as "Backstage Mom", it's entirely possible that I had them so in fear of my deep-voiced "NO!" that they would stop any wrong, huddle on their blanket and look at me plaintively as though I had kicked their puppies.

*  It is definitely the truth that by the end of today, I totally would have kicked their puppies to get them to NOT GO THE WRONG DAMNED WAY when they were needed to follow the other ducklings in a row.

*  I think--I suspect--that falling asleep on my keyboard is distinctly probably.

*  Other than that? Tomorrow is Father's Day. My one necessity is that I get out of bed early enough to sign his cards so we can give him his gift when he wakes up.

Night all!  Happy Father's Day!  May we all live to recital next year!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mani-pedis and Texts

So this morning, I got a text from my stepmom. My cousin's wife, who is a few years younger than me--but not much--just had a baby. They'd tried for a lot of years, and so the baby is sort of a miracle, and it looks a lot like my late uncle. I called my cousin, and we spoke for the first time in... a decade and a half. I was just so happy for him. Funny how someone you haven't spoken to in a long time can still hold such a sway over your thoughts and prayers, right?

Anyway, I took a picture of Big T to show him that our big guy looks like a dead ringer for my own father, fifty years ago. My cousin was duly impressed.

Then I took Chicken, Squish, and Zoomboy for the ultimate footbath, as ZB calls his yearly pedicure. They had a good time.

I have to admit, though-- pedicures, though awesome--especially with my feet and my knee and my IT band--are a little bit boring.

Sometimes I knit, but today, the kids were there and I didn't want to just zone out, so I surfed my phone a bit.

And I ended up finding this meme on my feed:

I sent it to Mate--and had the following conversation.

Mate: Does it have to be spiders?

Me: Would you at least walk through snakes? Bugs? Rats?

Mate: Bunnies?

And then Mate posted this picture at the same time I texted Watch out, that rabbit's dynamite!

And I figured we'd survive, because we were obviously made for each other, critters or no critters. We might even survive slugs.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Rush Limbaugh Story

Okay--this is the true story of my first actual moment of political awareness.

FTR, I was an idiot.

Way way back, before dirt, dust, and dinosaurs, Rush Limbaugh was a small time radio talk show host in California, and he did a tour of California colleges including my teeny tiny junior college, Sierra Community.

One day, I was crossing the quad, hopped up on Vivarin, Hostess Cherry Pies, and about two hours of sleep total for the whole day, and there was this asshole pontificating in the quad.

I was trying to make my way around the crowd, when I heard him say, "Ladies, why are you even talking to me? We all know you're here to get your M.R.S. degrees, leave the talking to the men!"

"Jesus Christ, you asshole, shut the fuck up!" It did not occur to me that this was an actual speaking engagement, or that he was doing this on purpose. He was an asshole. He needed to shut the fuck up. And I needed to get to my next class before I passed out on my feet or had an aneurism. Priorities, people, college students has em.

"Oh, mind your language, little girl," he condescended, and by this time I was near the front row. (And dammit, I was trying to get PAST all this bullshit!)

"Why, am I going to offend your virgin ears?" I sneered.

"Oh, honey. Don't talk to me about virginity," he came back.

And I froze. Deer in the headlights.

"I am a virgin," I said, a little lost. "Are you?"

And he found something else to talk about, because he really had tried to call me a whore, and I really was a virgin, and he had to find something else to be an assclown about.

I need to remember this, when Drumpf opens his mouth and I want to throat punch him through his uvula and then laugh as he dies in bloody vomit.  (Yes, that was a violent image. I'm sorry. I'm really done with politics this week. The whole purpose of the governing body is to NOT let things like the tragedy in Orlando happen, and Drumpf keeps talking about arming teachers. I want to kick him so hard in the balls they pop out of his nose.)

Anyway--back to my point about Rush. Besides being a terrible human being and a poster child for hypocrisy, he should have been my first lesson in what shock-politicians do. They say horrible things to distract you from the knowledge that they have nothing else to say. Nothing of substance. Hitler said, "The only way to win is to hate! Hate! Hate!" Does it mean anything? Well, sure. It means that millions of people are going to die unless this evil is stopped.

Drumpf says--oh hell. Any of the things he's said in the last three days. Starting with the fact that he can't seem to get the details of the Orlando shooting right if they walk up, lick his nose and bite him in the balls dangling from his nostrils--and we need to remember real lessons.

Rush couldn't deal with a real virgin when he'd just called her a whore--because his whole schtick was predicated something that wasn't real.

Same with Hitler. He couldn't find a real reason to win, or a real strategy (because a two front war? Dudes.) So he had to shout "Hate hate hate!" until people forgot there wasn't anything real behind his evil. Just evil. Empty as a black paper sack.

And Drumpf doesn't really know what he's doing so basically doing the same thing. "I don't really hate people, but if you hate them for me, you won't notice I'm an assclown who can't remember a fucking fact!"

It seems simple and obvious. But as I finally pushed my way through that crowd and got the fuck out of there to my next class, Rush Limbaugh was saying something nasty about my retreat and how sure, sure I was a virgin, and the crowd laughed. They couldn't see through him then, and he had a long and industrious career of making women feel like shit about themselves, so the crowd obviously kept on laughing.

Watching politics thirty years later, not much has changed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Moment of Childish Wonder

 For the record? I've declared Squish the winner in the soul collection race, although her biggest brother may be hiding many of his freckles under his gigantic lumberjack beard, the better to sucker us into believing he is entirely benign.

That being said--

I managed almost a mile today, and my knee was... well, not great, but not in extreme pain either, so, hey, I may be back to a mile and a half, which is where I was when it went bye-the-hell-bye.

I can't decide if I'm happy or bitter, and then I realized that real news has been a crapfest this week, so I'm taking what I can get and going with happy. Yay! Three miles by the end of the year, I can DO it! (ftr--I'm not really this excited, but I'm trying.)

Anyway, while on my walk, I noticed a bunch of signs blocking off part of a little throughway, and I noticed this big-assed crane. (I did not, however, notice the swimming pool in the backyard until I took the picture, and then I was insanely jealous. I've never really wanted a swimming pool, because small children, but still. The people with the pools always seem to have a better life.)

But the crane--like, stretching from the middle of the block, over a house, to loop around the telephone pole. THAT was a thing of beauty.

I continued on my walk until I met a guy in full reflective gear kit, and after Geoffie stopped threatening to EAT him, we started a convo.

"So, all this to pull a telephone pole?"

"Yeah, it was in someone's backyard."

"Gotta say, that is one cool erector set to work with."

"Oh yeah-- these guys who run this equipment, they love going to work every day." He was cute--goatee, a little gray, a great smile. Welcome to romancelandia, hot traffic guy, you may or may not end up in a porn shoot, I promise not to tell your friends.

"I imagine so. That's pretty tricky." I'll be honest, I was just making conversation here--he was cute and willing to talk, the dog finally shut up, and I was dying for something else to say.

"Wait until you see the telephone pole go over the house. Although I don't think the people in the house are that happy about it." Sadly, I did not get to see this--they were a long way from swinging a telephone pole over a house at this point, but that doesn't mean I wasn't tempted.

"No, that could be nerve-wracking," I replied, because DUH!

"Well, these guys know what they're doing."

Now, at this point Geoffie lost her tiny-dog-shit again and I felt compelled to move on.

"I'm glad it's them and not me--with me, there'd be lots of bodies.  You have an interesting day!"

"I always do!" he replied. "Can't go wrong here!"

I waved and took off--and thought, "You know, I'm going home to play god, but these guys? They get to play with giant tinker toys. I think they win!"

Because inside ALL of us beats the heart of a six year old boy with the set of building blocks and a dream.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Cricks and Critters

Recital season is in full swing, and I find that continuing life as I know it, per usual, makes me a horrible person.  On Friday I tried to work out and then go to the full night show, and I was, if I say so, a face-ripping cow by the end of the night. Today, when it became apparent my day was not going as I'd planned, I took a long nap and was a human being. Live and learn.

As for my day--well, Chicken's day was worse.

We have a teeny-tiny house, and when she made it clear she was not moving back in after graduation, her father decided to use her room as a game room, because hey, free space! To that end, in December, we put her bed in the garage and moved in a futon so she would have some place to sleep when she visited. Now, her first apartment was furnished with a bunk bed and a futon--we figured she was young, she was spry, she could deal.

Apparently futons are evil.

This morning she texted us from bed. I don't usually sleep with my phone--it was in the living room on the charger. Her father had his under his pillow, and it didn't even faze him. Big T--THERE was our contact point. He apparently leapt out of bed as though stung and walked the five feet across the hall to see why she was texting him.

She had a crick in her neck and couldn't move.

I got her advil, her father helped her roll over and get up, and we got her some new pillows and made plans. A doctor's appointment? Well, a doctor's appointment would get her an actual appointment for a massage and some PT. How about an appointment for a massage? Done.

So, she got advil, a massage, new pillows and an air mattress (quickly destroyed by the cats because why wouldn't they destroy an air mattress sprung up in their room like a mushroom) and we'll try very hard not to break our Chicken anymore this week.

And figure out an alternative for the next time she's here, because we like her visits and would like her to keep coming back.

So that happened.

Also, I ordered THIS T-shirt from Traxel Tees--all of the proceeds go to the victims fund for Orlando, and the artwork was done by Paul Richmond who has done, among other things, my Candy Man covers.  The sales department chatted to me on FB, and they are a wonderful company, completely local to Paul in Columbus Ohio, and very dedicated to a better world and quality and--as one guy in the company video said, walking out of their door and seeing SOMEBODY on the street with one of their products.  I'm talking them up because they were so nice to ME and because what they're doing with the T-shirt was really wonderful. I would love to walk down the street wearing this shirt and see somebody else wearing it, and know that my weird little corner of the world is yearning for peace just like I am.

So, I've peppered this post with pictures (alliteration, whee!) because now that I'm not rambling and sad, I thought you'd like to see the amazing creatures from the birthday party.

The Goddess really does love her unique and amazing creatures, doesn't she?

May we one day wake to a world in which all humans cherish their unique and amazing brethren as well.

Split Attention

It was the oddest day.

My kids had a birthday party to go to--and a really fun one at that! My friend Berry Jello had a reptile petting zoo come to her son's birthday party, and the kids had SO much fun. So did I for that matter-- the lizards, the bugs, the frogs, the sneks!

I loved them-- petted all of them, even the vinegaroon, which looks like a cross between a scorpion and a giant madagascar cockroach. The presenter was amazing-- every animal she produced, including the myriad stick bugs in all sizes, she introduced with, "Oh my God! This is THE most amazing creature--look at all of the special things about it! Let's celebrate it, let's give it some attention. Let's tell it how beautiful it is and how lucky we are that there are so many fabulous creatures in the world!"

I was down to do just that.

Because the rest of the world...

Goddess. The rest of the world seems determined to squash all of the wonderful diversity of our world flat and dead, and my heart was so broken I was surprised to find it beating.

For those of you who didn't hear about Orlando, well, I have no words.

The preliminary reports were happening on Twitter as I went to bed, and when I woke up... it was so much worse than anybody could imagine.

And my heart constricted with the most awful, familiar fear.

I know this fear. There are mornings when telling Squish to hop out of the car is ridiculously hard. What if there's someone there with a gun? Someone who decides he doesn't like the demographic of her school, as diverse as it is? Someone with a grudge? Someone who just flat out doesn't like children? They're not safe--we've seen it, felt it, heard the echoes gunshots throughout American history, of stupid abominations of metal and machine that rip apart small bodies like tissue paper, and nobody wants to talk about how to get rid of the machines, they just want to pretend that an idiot with a knife could do the same damage as a semi-automatic that can take out a city block.

I live in fear for my children. Going to the theater, walking into a restaurant, sitting in a classroom--over 10,000 people a year are killed by gun violence, and my children are in the crosshairs just like anybody else's.

All children are in the crosshairs.

So when I saw "nightclub in Orlando" I was not automatically thinking, "gay club" in Orlando. I was thinking, "Somebody's children!"

Which they were--they were somebody's children who thought they were safe. They were in a gay night club during Pride Week--a time when the LGBTQ community has made a stand for solidarity and safety in the world by showing that they are not afraid.

These children were gunned down in a place of safety. A place of celebration and joy.

And my fear for my children--all the children, all the Goddess's children-- just twisted like a knife in my belly.

And I have no words.

The girl at the party today, pulling out traditionally frightening creatures-- stick bugs, geckos, monitor lizards--and saying, "Look at this! Look at how beautiful it is! Look at how amazingly it's made! How it's body does exactly what it's supposed to, and how easy it is to admire and love!"

So easy to love a frog or a bearded dragon or a vinegaroon. We protected those creatures, treated them gently--nobody stood up and stomped on them or tore them apart. It was unthinkable.

Why is it so easy to think violence for our children? Our sons and brothers, daughters and sisters? "Look! Here is a child, sitting in a desk! Isn't she clever and industrious and kind? Look! Here is a gay man, dancing in a club! Isn't he brave and beautiful and happy? Look at the woman standing next to him, dancing with her girlfriend? Aren't they amazing?"

Why can't we look at the beautiful humans in our world and think they're supposed to be protected too? Why is it so easy to rip apart their bodies with guns designed to kill hundreds in the span of a single song? Why do we think it's okay to make it so easy? To provide machines to facilitate sickness and hatred and fear? To let our religious and political leaders spit out rhetoric that makes it easy to hate, and to be afraid?


I'm sorry. I'm rambling. I just know that it was so surreal, cradling a giant monitor lizard in my arms and thinking that he was delightful and affectionate, and marvelous, and realizing that such hatred exists in the world that couldn't love and accept a human being with even half the love I gave that damned lizard in a sweater.

That had to rip a human apart and destroy it.

I wanted to gather in all the children at the party and protect them. (And I've recently made it very clear I'm not a fan of other people's children.)

I wanted to round up all the guns in the world and do something useful with them. Solar panels? Space ships? Metal sculptures? The possibilities for things that are not guns are endless, while the possibility for things that ARE guns are limited to one brutal conclusion.

Tomorrow, I'll post the pictures from the party. They are charming and the creatures were truly wondrous.

Tonight, I'm too heartsore over the wondrous humans, who should have been protected in their sanctuary, and were murdered instead.

Be safe out there, humans. As the LGBTQ community gathers during Pride, remember that there are allies who are proud of you, and proud FOR you, and who love you, and want you to be well. Remember there are madmen out there, who want exactly the opposite, and keep your beautiful, diverse bodies safe from the madmen, and whole to dance another day.