Friday, December 05, 2008

Time for a break?

Ah, the Christmas Season. Brings out the best in folk. At least, I believed that right up until I started working in retail and computer repair. So it's been busy.

Yesterday I went into the shop to heat up my lunch and review the current workload with the technician. I strolled around the room, pointing to things and ticking them off in my mind.
"So...this one's got drive controller issues...this is one of the Gray machines, almost finished? The tower in the corner is scanning, new build here and here, hard drive diags on that laptop, this one's updating. Good. But what's beeping for God's sake?"
The technician said "Uh, that would be the microwave."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A reminder

Embedding is disabled, so please click.

Paper Angels, by Jimmy Wayne

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Oh, hi!

This might be the longest pause I've ever had between posts.

I'm working. Constantly, nonstop, and squeezing in extra time here and there. Christmas and year end are coming and I'm just really, really no-kidding-busy.

Susan blogged a bit about escaping into books, and I must say I've been lucky there. A few weeks ago I had a pile of half-read books collecting dust on my dresser:

Roots, Alex Haley
The Alexandria Link, Steve Berry
In Still and Silent Waters, Reah Tannahill
Angels and Demons, Dan Brown
The Seventh Son, Reah Tannahill
Russka, Edward Rutherfurd

I think I might even be forgetting one or two. I don't know what it was, I just couldn't settle into these books. I don't mean that they weren't any good (though one of them was kind of awful and you can probably tell which one. (G)) I was just restless and feeling a little lost. So I was reading Outlander, because that's where I go when I can't get comfortable anywhere else.

Then my fourteen-year-old sister dropped a stack of books in my lap:

A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray
Rebel Angels, Libba Bray
The Sweet Far Thing, Libba Bray
Ink Exchange, Melissa Marr
Wicked Lovely, Melissa Marr

(Yes, she's all sorts of Awesome)

And I bought myself a copy of My Lord and Spymaster.

So no more problems in that area.

Listen, if you know Claire from the Forum - or even if you don't - say a prayer for her and her new daughter Sophie. There were complications during the birth, but things are looking pretty good.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The weekend - in point form

So, I didn't get to Surrey. I don't know that I ever will. And it's all right, I wouldn't have wanted to miss this weekend at home, anyway.

After work Saturday, went to the local Farmer Clem's with DH and Pebbles and bought some Honey Crisp apples (yum) and a big fat pumpkin.

Went from there to a local hobby farm, to pick up BamBam from a birthday party. The kids both had pony rides, and we spent a while hanging out in the petting pen with some baby goats, a turkey and a couple of Llamas. Also had some interesting face time with a pot-bellied pig. He was cool.

Went home, and took some pictures of the kids playing in the leaves.

Ate pork roast rubbed with garlic, rosemary and pepper, and then glazed with a honey-soya marmalade mix. Mashed potatoes with mayo and green onion, too.

Made sugar cookies with the kids - we made a helluva mess but it was worth it.

Sunday, carved the pumpkin. Played play-dough. Made cream of broccoli soup for lunch, it was really good.

1 medium onion
2T butter
2c finely chopped fresh broccoli (I had about 1" pieces)
2 1/2 cups milk
2T chicken oxo
1c shredded cheddar cheese
3-4 drops hot pepper sauce

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add onion and cook until tender. Add broccoli, stir and cook 2-3 more minutes. Add milk, OXO powder and hot sauce, stir occasionally until broccoli is tender. Add cheese, stir until melted. Serve.

Went to bed early in fresh sheets, and slept like a log.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Peel my banana - it's comportant!!!

I love living with a toddler. Pebbles says the most incredible things these days, and at not quite two-and-a-half, we are suitably impressed.

Me: "Eat your spaghetties, Pebbles."
Pebbles: (long-suffering sigh) "It's spaghetti, Mom. Only one."

I guess she has my grammar thing. She also has my sweet tooth:

Pebbles: "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
Me: "I don't know. What are you thinking?"
Pebbles: "I'm thinking....cookie."

Speaking of cookies, this week has been really crummy as far as customers and work goes (ok, except for the bread and honey. That was incredible.) And if anyone ever says to you that mercury is in retrograde, don't laugh. I tell you: people lose their minds, and nothing goes right for two weeks solid. I work in retail, just trust me.

I did make my wordcount goal the other day, and I've been developing the habit of writing a page or two in bed at night. It's working!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Yummy

And this is what happens. Make fun of some guy, and the Universe promptly smacks me on the Proverbial.

Remember Angry Customer from the last post? Well, she called me yesterday. She wanted her money back from the one hour labour she paid for our assessment of her computer (including the part where we said Duh, lady there's no freakin' fan in here) and the 8 viruses that we did, in fact remove, because we have Skills. Secret Ninja-Computer-Technician Mind Tricks, indeed. And a set of screwdrivers.

Her argument seemed to revolve around the fact that our assessment didn't jive with what the Other Guy said (yes, the one who called me - He of No Skills or Secret Ninja Tricks.) And since she didn't know which one of us to believe, someone must be Fibbing Big Time, and she didn't want to pay anybody any money until she got to the bottom of it. She would take it farther, she assured me. As in, to court.

This is Canada. To us, this qualifies as Truly Bizarre Behaviour.

So we replied that our charges were fair and honest, and being Without A Clue does not entitle one to a refund. If it did, I'd be waaay out of business. My husband had a long talk with her, during which he explained that we did the work that we were hired to do, to the greatest extent possible. We did not take her fan, (she was not accusing us of doing so) and hence we were not responsible - morally or financially - for any distress she may be experiencing. He welcomed her to find any person, anywhere, with grounds to suggest that we had ever been dishonest in our dealings.

At the end of the conversation, she said "So, I'm not getting my money back?"

Um, no. You're not.

And thankyouverymuch, Universe, for the reminder.

In other news, a week or so ago, an older lady came in and said she had all kinds of porn on her computer. (Put there by viruses, I assure you!) She was just the tiniest little bit upset and embarassed, so I leaned across the counter, touched her on the wrist and said...

"That's a very bad habit, you know."

She laughed. And yesterday when her computer was fixed, she brought me some lovely fresh bread - rustic and crunchy - from her daughter's bakery.

Today, another customer brought us some fresh honey from his very own bees. I'm thinking the two are going to be very tasty together. Aren't we lucky, to be so blessed with thoughtful, appreciative and caring customers?

This is a very funny world we live in.

Now, who makes fresh butter?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

On working with boys

A few weeks ago, a woman brought us a laptop for repair. In addition to a smattering of viruses, it seemed to have a heat issue, so my technician flipped it over, opened it up and fan. The whole cpu/heatsink assembly was missing. Gone.

Of course the customer had no idea where the fan went. She said the thing had nevah evah been taken apart since she bought it from a store down on the South Shore last Christmas.

I had my doubts as to whether the thing could actually go that long without a fan, but I hestitated over telling her that either a) she was wrong or b) someone in the house is lying or c) both.

(Aside: The thing is pink. It's been spray-painted pink, and the guy who sold it to her is the one who painted it. Professional, hunh?)

So Angry Customer now called the original vendor to complain about lack of fan, and he offered - right then, sight unseen - to go ahead and install the $130 fan for her. (Ok, buddy, it's your money.)

So this guy called me on the phone today. Right away, he had The Tone. The "I'm about to make you look stupid" tone. He was probably aggravated by the fact that he was out a sizeable chunk of green, and looking - and feeling - kinda dumb himself.

"It says here on your invoice that you charged her for an hour's labour, which was supposed to include virus scanning and removing 8 viruses from her data?"

"Yes, that's right." wait for it.....

"Well, I'm just curious, how could you POSSIBLY scan this thing in the two minutes it takes for it to overheat and shut down?" TaDAAA!

"Well, we took the drive out of the laptop and scanned it in our shop machine. We do that to prevent the viruses loading into memory so we can clean them properly." How the heck do YOU do a virus scan?


This sort of pissing contest happens, because this is an industry mainly operated by boys. I can't help but feel a little smug when one of them slips in his own piddle. I know it's wrong. It's just

Plans for today

In the interest of making myself accountable, I thought I'd pop in here and think out loud for a few minutes.

There are work things that need doing today - the usual customer care - be it telephone, counter or email - plus reconciling the transac account, finishing my October Mailout and getting that gone, and following up on the last month of repairs. (Thassa lotta phone calls!) I need to find out what happened to the renewal of my Trend license, and pay some bills.

In betwixt all this most excellent computer-store-lady behaviour, I am also determined to get down a scene that has been hanging around for a few days now. It's actually a rewrite of a section that I knew was wrong, and now I know how to fix it. I've given Carrie my horsey background, and this actually will help to cement the bond between her and Luke-the sexy-veterinarian. I'd like to see seven hundred words of that today. And I need to update my word meter, too!

So, off I go. First things first, though - coffee!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A little disgruntled today

I am not "spot on" today, and by this I mean I'm having trouble getting motivated to do Actual Work. This happens, and I know I shall recover and by my uber-useful self within hours. I had better, because I have a lot to do before the end of the work day - at which point I hop into the car and trundle off to BamBam's school for curriculum night and (yay!) the Book Fair.

Last night on the way to bed I opened a notebook and found a chunk of AHTH. Isn't it nice when you find yourself caught up in your own writing? I plan to post that chunk here, hopefully in the next few days.

My heart hurts, I wish I was home. I would let Pebbles cut up apples with a plastic knife, and we would bake them in a pie. I would put something in the slowcooker. I would open the windows and smell the crisp, fall air in my sunny yellow kitchen. I'd play Sorry! with BamBam after school.

But I cannot, and since I can't conjure any interest in rising freight prices or the current cost of RAM or video cards, I'm going to grab a pen and see what comes out of the end of it. There will be consequences, but hey. (shrug) Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


On my answering machine:
"Hello, this is Mr. C, you've done some work on my HP in the past. Anyway, this morning when I turn the thing on it just bleeps at me. I thought I'd get in in to you this morning, please call me back. (number)"

So I called, and I got his voicemail.
"Hello, this is Cindy from Itsy Bitsy Computers. You're welcome to leave your bleeping computer with us...(snrfl)...anytime...(choke)...sorry. The number is 555...(giggle)...see you later, bye. "

Saturday, September 20, 2008

It's the little things

Pebbles is outgrowing her size 18 mos pants. Fair enough, I guess - she's 29 months old.


When I was 2, I wanted to be a princess for halloween. My parents were young and broke, and they just wanted to use stuff they had around the house, so they dressed me as a hobo. I cried. They laughed. (They also sucked, but they were 20 and 23 years old. I've forgiven them - mostly.)

Fast forward...OMG...33 years, and I have a two-year-old girl. She's precious. I want to buy her the best damned princess costume you ever did see. But noooooo. Pebbles wants to be a MONSTER. RAHR.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, the washing...Tuesday, headcold

Gawd, is it only Tuesday?

I'm sitting here at my desk, and I'm supposed to be checking that the petty cash has exactly $100 in it. However, there are only 2 pennies, and I need three more, and this has brought me to a full stop. I simply cannot cope with a crisis of this magnitude right now.

Periodically, I realize that my mouth is hanging open, so I close it, only to discover that I cannot breathe with my mouth closed.

The Dimetapp expired last year. Is that bad?

Must have picked up a bug from Susan.

Off to check under my car seats for pennies...

Thursday, September 11, 2008


"I think you'd better go down and turn on the TV."

I didn't like the sound of his voice, there was an unfamiliar thread in it - something was happening. Something big. Something I wasn't sure I wanted to know.

"Why?" I adjusted the flannel on my shoulder, and reached for the baby. He was two weeks old, sleeping in his carseat on the coffee table. I held him a lot in those days - usually only because I felt like I was supposed to do more than just watch him sleep. In this moment, though, I held him because I needed to.

"Just...just take the phone and go."

I went.

In the darkness of the rec room, just after 10 am in the morning, I stared incomprehendingly at a lot of smoke and the back end of a plane, sticking out of the side of the WTC.

"Oh, my God. Someone crashed." What an incredibly horrible accident.

"Yeah." He was talking, I don't remember what he said.

I shifted the phone and moved toward the sofa when suddenly the camera panned sideways. My postnatal brain took a long moment to understand...this was another plane. A second plane, and it was going to hit the other building. Only that couldn't be.

And then it happened. Right on the screen, in front of me, between one breath and the next, the whole world changed.

After we hung up I sat there in the dark holding my son, tears streaming down my face. I cried for the people who were already dead. I cried for the ones who were dying, for their helplessness and their fear, and for their families. I cried for my son, and my newly minted understanding that I couldn't protect him, not really.

I didn't know then what the outcome would be, and I'm not sure I fully know it now. I don't want to talk about that.

I just wanted to say that I remember.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why I am not blogging

Hi, friends, remember me? Well, you must, since you're here.

I have not been blogging because I'm back at work on AHTH. More precisely, I'm reading it - because I actually don't remember all of what's there, and I needed a refresh. I thought it was better. But it's all right - I still feel connected with Carrie, and I can see where I did not say all of what I meant. I do that.

I have also not been blogging because we've been all over da place - camping, amusement park-ing, barbecue-ing, and forgetting how to spell. I was getting too old - spiritually, mentally - and have been focused on getting my hair and makeup all messed up, laughing at bathroom jokes, and eating french fries in the shade with ketchup and extra salt. I even painted my toenails bubblegum pink.

So, I'm still here. Just refilling the well.

Monday, August 11, 2008

There is no Try, only Do

I borrow this heading from my friend Lindsay as a sorely needed reminder to me. I am determined to write today, so of course there are a thousand details that need emergency attention - product orders, email messages, dirty dishes. Yanno, anything but the blank page in front of me and the terrifying void in my brain where my story is supposed to be.

I do want to tell you about our weekend in PEI, but first, 500 words.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


We're taking the kids camping in PEI for a few days, and I'm really looking forward to it. Is that crazy? Probably.

I had no idea how much preparation goes in to this kind of thing - it seemed a lot simpler when I was a kid and my parents were doing all the work.

We needed everything, startng with a tent. DH bought one on sale, and then found a bigger one for the same price, so we switched and set up the new one in the back yard. He spent the better part of a day applying sealant.

"What the heck is that?" Wondered Beloved Neighbour, neatly propping a squirming 38 lb two-year-old (hers) under her arm. She was looking at the four feet of screened-in area on one end of the structure. It might have been a nice idea, but for the triangular shape of it owed to the angle of the screen, attaching to the top of the main part of the tent. So it was four feet of tent floor, draped in screen. "That's useless! I'd put that right back in the box and return it." She poked her head inside. "And you're never going to fit everything in there."

I sighed, and silently agreed. When DH inflated our brand-new air mattresses and put them in the tent, he agreed out loud. The tent went back. We're on tent #3, and it looks like the Taj Mahal in comparison.

And it's lanterns and coolers, beach towels, tarps and sleeping bags, stuff, and things, and a portable DVD player for the drive. Snacks, a meal plan, childrens' Benadryl, and a Rubbermaid box full of footwear for any climatic eventuality. Are we good? I'll let you know!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Have YOU heard of Google?

I hate it when my phone rings, and the person who has made it do so (thus requiring me to pick up the danged thing) turns out to be working at a call center. It's even worse when the product on offer is patently inappropriate for me or my business, and two seconds' research could have saved everyone the bother. These days common sense is just too expensive; it's cheaper for the Suits if they pay poor people crap wages to waste my time. Like yesterday's gem:

"Good Morning, Itsy Bitsy Computers, Cindy speaking."

"Yes, Madame, this is Victor calling from Unintelligible Corporation. May I please be speaking with your general manager, please?"

"Speaking." At this point, the line goes silent for a moment while the caller frantically rifles his employee manual, searching for the section entitled What To Do When Confronted with A GIRL.

"Oh. Oh, excellent Madame. Perfect. I was calling today just to find out, have you ever heard of Google? Madame? Madame, why are you laughing?"

"Yes, I've heard of Google." (snort)

"Oh, perfect. We are calling today because we are hoping to make arrangement with excellent company like yourself, to advertise on the front page of Google. Madame?"

(chuffle) "I quite doubt I have the budget to advertise on the front page of Google," (as I'd have to cancel my Superbowl commercial and that would Never Do) "but here's my email address."

"Indeed, madame. That's just perfect. I will be sending you the information straight away, and then in one hour I will be calling to see if you received it."

"Yep. Have a nice day." It's nice when they give you a little heads up. I wrote down his phone number, to be sure I didn't accidentally answer the phone when he called again.

He did call back, twice. I missed him, because I was on a conference call with Donald Trump and George Clooney at the time. So sad.

Monday, July 21, 2008

To three or not to three?

Yesterday afternoon, I spent a little while working on a paint-by-number while the kids watched some TV.

"So?" You ask.

And this morning, I woke up to find that Pebbles had spent the entire night in her own bed, with no 3 am requests for cuddles or a bottle. That's been happening more and more.

"She's two," you remind me. "That's what we expect. And why are you still giving her a bottle at 3 am anyway?" (I don't know. Leave me alone.)

...AND I've noticed lately that there are times in the evening when - get this! - nobody needs me for anything. I could sit down, and it's almost like nobody would notice. Except maybe the cat, who is attracted to warm horizontal surfaces.

I was looking at pictures of Pebbles, and suddenly I'm realizing how much she's grown. That she really isn't a baby any more. She's a toddler, a person in her own right, fully equipped with her own agendas and opinions. We're arriving at that point where it starts to get easier. Or at least less intense.

So I hear myself asking, in a faraway, singsong kind of mental I want another?


And then I glance nervously at my husband, to see if he heard me thinking that. Because if he did, I think he might actually cry. And then shake me. And then ask a lot of loud questions about my mental health. And I'd be waiting just as anxiously for my answers, because that's just...

('s biology, is what it is. It's a gazillion years of reproductive programming.)

...crazy. I've been working six days a week and I'm in no position to change that, I don't ever feel like I spend enough time with the Beloved I already have, I haven't been writing, or baking, or keeping up with any of my friends. So sure, let's have another baby. FABulous idea.

Says the little voice that started it all, "I didn't mean right this minute!"

"Oh, shut up," I tell it. "We are not discussing this." And we're not.

At least not right now.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


My uncle passed away a few weeks ago, quietly in his bed, with his wife sitting nearby. She said he took a breath, and then he just didn't take any more.

It's been many years since he was the man he was born to be. He had a heart attack and the resulting brain damage broke that filter most of us have - the one that keeps us from repeating the same stories over and over, telling rude jokes in front of children, and making deeply inappropriate comments. To be honest, I didn' do you say you didn't really like someone, when they're dead? How can I express that without looking like a right bitch?

My aunt (not the one who was married to him) remarked lately that the family here in Nova Scotia never really got to know the real him, since he only moved here after his heart attack. She remembered visiting with them in Toronto, and they had a picnic in the park, with hotdogs and potato salad. My uncle noticed a homeless man sitting off under a tree, and he went over, sat down beside him, and talked to him for a while. Made up a plate for him. That was what he was really like, she said. And he may always have had a tendency to speak in a loud voice and tell rude jokes, but he was kind and he didn't judge people. (wince)

That's how it is when someone really dies, for good. Looking back now, I admit that yes, all he ever wanted - all he was trying to do - was make us laugh. And now that he's gone, the obnoxious behaviour no longer defines him, and he comes into focus as the unique and ultimately precious individual he was. That we all are, frailties and warts and indiscretions included.

The Family has Come: my father, his seven sisters, and the various spouses and offspring and grand-offspring who all cared enough to make the trek from Ottawa, Toronto, and wherever. Tonight we'll all be eating supper together at the house built for them by their father. And while we're a big family and prone to gather like puppies in a basket, this will be the first time I recall all the aunties being there at once. I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Because I can do this while I'm on hold...

TECHNOLOGY:What is the wallpaper on your computer?
A cat with its paw over its face, captioned "I cannot brain today, I have the dumb."

Does that make sense?
OMG yes.

How many televisions do you have in your house?

Are you right handed or left handed?
Right handed, but I use my left for cutting food because I hate switching hands with my silverware.

Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
Yes. A gallbladder, some wisdom teeth and two children.

What is the last heavy item you lifted?
A computer.

Have you ever been knocked out?
During (and after) some of the procedures above, yes, if that counts.

If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
No way.

If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
I wouldn't change it, strange as it is.

What color do you think looks best on you?
Brown, black, red and pink, bright green.

Have you ever swallowed a non-food item?
Yes. A button, in church. It fell off my blouse and I didn't have a pocket, so I put it in my mouth... hey, I was twelve. My brain wasn't really developed yet.

Would you kiss a member of the same sex for $100?
I think so, yanno, depending...

Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000?
Hell, no.

Would you never blog again for $50,000?

Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1,000?

Would you, without fear of punishment, take a human life for a million dollars?
Of course not.

What is in your left pocket?

Is Napoleon Dynamite actually a good movie?
I have no idea.

Do you have hardwood or carpet in your house?

Do you sit or stand in the shower?

How many pairs of flip flops do you own?
One. Do Birks count? Then two.

Last person who texted you?
I don't have text messaging.

Last person who called you?
Pastor Ross. He wants to know about his laptop repair.

Last person you hugged?


Season? Summer.

Color? sunshine yellow.

Missing someone?
Yes, my peeps.

Cranky. The full moon is coming and people are acting weird.

Listening to?
Iceberg radio

Worrying about?
Work. Oh, and the size of my butt. (G)

black capris and a purple shirt, and a (very sexy) wrist splint.

First place you went this morning?
The kitchen. That's where the kettle is.

What can you not wait to do?
Go home

Do you smile often?
Oh yes.

Are you a friendly person?
Yes, sometimes too much so.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation (all 4 days of it)

It was only a few days, but sometimes that's all you get. Sometimes, it's all you need. So, how did I spend my precious few?

I drove across the province in a blue minivan with my kids, over the spiny ridge that runs the length of the mainland, past the airport to the summit where suddenly you can see lush green farmland rolling away to the horizon. We came back down to water level at Truro, a town at the tip of the Bay of Fundy, which smells like a combination of manure and fast food. That's where you'll find the Acricultural College, but for the life of me I couldn't tell you what else is there - except every food franchise known to man, crammed cheek by jowl on a 1 km stretch of potholes.

Pebbles, sensibly, slept the whole way. BamBam and I sang along to such timeless classics as The Cat Came Back, and The Big Ship Sailed on the Alley Alley Ooh, Crocodile Rock, and the Hockey Song.

After Truro we turned to the north, and drove uphill and down through more beautiful country. A new vista opens at the crest of every hill as the highway rolls away from you toward the Northumberland Strait. This is Nova Scotia, Appalacia's last sleepy murmer before she lays herself down to sleep in the ocean.

And at last, Pictou. The place where the first Scottish settlers landed, giving Nova Scotia her name. It's a wonderful little town, where they've built a museum and a replica of the Ship Hector, the boat that brought those settlers. (I love the souvenir shop, we go every year. We also eat lunch in Thom's Pub.)

In Pictou my imagination bubbles, warmed by the local history. I can feel these people around me, wanting me to hear their stories. Some day when the kids are bigger I hope to go down there to research and write.

Once there...

I walked on the beach at low tide with my kids and mom and sister, looking at starfish and hermit crabs. I also went for a long walk on a dirt road with Mom and the kids - who missed not one single mud puddle the whole way. Pictou has red dirt, high in iron. It doesn't wash out easily, but it was worth it.

I played Scattergories and Boggle with my mom and sister. We also worked on a paint-by-number.

I biked 10K on a hot day in hilly country with my dad and DH. DH and I didn't exactly keep up with the "old feller", but Dad was kind enough to stop and wait for us from time to time. Come to think of it, it's possible that DH was just hanging back to keep me company. And maybe to make sure I didn't die in the ditch. (On getting back to the cottage, my concerned family parked me in a lawn chair with some ice water. I guess my face was a little red. (G) )

We had a water balloon fight. Mom made us a gourmet lunch of watermelon, pepperoni, cheese and crackers, but it got a little wet when Dad and DH attacked her with the hose and a bucket of water. (She still doesn't know exactly who did that, so don't tell!)

My dad made a bonfire on the beach at dusk, and we swatted bugs and roasted an entire bag of marshmallows.

Pebbles caught a surprise wave right in the chops - and she was fine. She shivered convulsively, and said "Oooh, cold." Then, smacking her lips, "tasty!"

Finished reading STRAY, by Rachel Vincent. (I highly recommend it.) Threw a football with BamBam, and ate a hotdog that fell on the ground.

I went for a ride on DH's motorbike - something I haven't done for years, what with pregnancy and smallish children. Also went to the grocery store dressed in black leather - and bought ground beef, potato chips and toaster strudel. Yep, we're hoodlums.

We drove home on the sunniest day of all four, tired and full of gratitude for the time with my family, followed by DH on his motorbike. I entertained myself by cleaning my windshield unnecessarily, and watching him in the rear view to see if I got him with the spray. (The very best part of this was that he had no idea I was doing it on purpose. (G)

So anyway, I'm back at work now, and have been for a week, but I just wanted to share with you (and remind myself) what a really good weekend it was, full of little-arm hugs and marshmallow kisses, sunscreen and laughter. I can't wait for the next one.

Friday, June 27, 2008

An actual email

This, from one of my suppliers:

"Just in this fine morning All our free to air satelite recievers and accessorries have just arrived in stock. So get then now why we still have stock there going fast. "

Ow, my head.

Countdown to the weekend: 6 hours, 16 minutes.

Living the Coles notes version

It feels longer than two months since my awesome co-worker left, and I'm still trying to find a rhythm of work and home that functions properly. There just isn't enough time, I'm covering the bases, checking off the major points - shower, work, bedtime stories - and enjoying hardly any of it. It's the Coles notes version of my life.

At work, I'm three weeks behind on some of my administrative stuff, and I go from line 1 to line 2 to the counter, to email, and back to the phone again. I'm doing all right, I'm doing a good job, but I'm so rushed that I'm not getting the sense of accomplishment I would like to feel. I'm only tired.

Then I drive home, trying to shake the vaguely irritable, dissatisfied feelings before I get there, so I can walk in with a smile and enjoy the kids for those two or three precious hours before they go to bed. Work is over now, I am lucky to be going home to such a wonderful family.

I once heard a woman on a tv show remark "If the Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" I remember rolling my eyes, and wondering just who in hell she thought she was, the queen? But now that I have a family, I see what she meant. It wasn't that she wanted everybody kowtowing to her every whim. It's just a simple truth - the household watches the mother. They take their cues from her, they calibrate their sense of peace and wellness according to her mood.

No pressure. (G)

Being away from them so much, I can't help but feel the full import of this priviledge - what an incredible thing, to be so essential to these people. And yet, it can be overwhelming. I don't always manage to get my sh*t together, and those days it's rough knowing that I'm letting them down. They need me.

And then my daughter goes to sleep with her little hand on my face, and I am forgiven, and healed.

But wait...see the calendar? It says that at 6 pm today, the door closes - and it's going to stay that way until Wednesday morning. We're going to my parents' cottage, which is far enough away but not too far, and I will have a break. Four days with no work, no telephone, just the Beloved and my parents and the ocean. We'll do a massive jigsaw puzzle, drink some beer, and laugh a lot.

Thank you, God.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm baaaaaack

I've pulled out The Witch of Badenock, blew the dust off it, and I'm currently reading through my most recent edit of the thing.

Yes, I said I wouldn't. I am, anyway.

I developed, over years of growing as a writer, a set of personal rules designed to help me meet my writing goals. The strictest of them was "No going back" because I had developed a habit of endlessly re-writing the first part of a WIP - during which period I neither progressed in the story, nor did I learn very much. It's a good rule, it worked.

However, it belonged to a woman with heck of a lot more spare time than I have.

I'm married, working five-and-a-half days a week running my own company and raising two kids. My schedule is packed with duties and obligations that really are more important than writing - and so when I think of writing in within the confines of my old "rules" it quickly loses its appeal. What I need right now is a little time spent doing something recklessly creative - just because I feel like it. So I've chucked out the rules, because they belong to a different era, and hey! It's the new me. Again.

Writing freely and without apparent aim, schedule or outline is still writing. My dreams of being published and seeing my name on the cover of a book are still alive and valid - but they don't seem quite as close, as reachable, as they did two short months ago, when I was churning out over 10K per month. (Wordcount for May? Zero. Howzat for ineffective?)

The thing is I miss my historical, and I feel like playing with it. So today that's what I'm doing.

I feel better already.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

He's so lonesome, he could cry...

Had my third conversaton with the new "IT" guy over at the office of one of our long-standing clients. I've already explained to him how external hard drives work, and how to locate the video card in a computer - and yes, there are different types. Today's chat went like this (I changed his name):

Me: "Hi Alex?"
Alex: "Hi Cindy."
Me: "Yeah, so the problem with the PC here, it's the power supply. $49.00 part, plus an hour labour."
Alex: "I don't understand. There was no display."
Me: (What? Hello?) "Right. You had no display because the computer wasn't turning on. There was no p..o..w..e..r."
Alex: "Is that because I didn't send you the cable?"
Me: (Oh, buddy. How did you get this job?) "No, we have cables. The power supply, it's um, where the machine takes your current from the wall and splits it out to different rails, 3.3V, 5V, 12V, that the components need. It's that thing. It failed."
Alex: "Oh, that makes sense."
Me: "Mmmhmm. And there's a password, we'll need that."
Alex: "Oh."
Me: "So, it's…?"
Alex: "left out"
Me: (Oh, God.) "Uh, that's all one word?"
Alex: "Yes. One word. Leftout."

Now I'm sad.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Night life

The night before last, my two-year-old daughter woke up at 11:30 pm, just as my eyes were drifting shut. I waited to see if she would settle, and she didn't, so I went to bring her into the big bed. That always works.

Or, yanno, not.

My usual secret weapons - back rubbing, whispering the words to Goodnight Moon, saying good night to all her favourite TV characters - nothing I did was any help at all. I had some time to reflect that girls always seem to be angry with their mothers for something, and Pebbles seems to have picked out her reasons already. An hour later, she was still tossing and turning, fussing and complaining, and I was Highly Annoyed. It all came to a head when she suddenly began to crawl away from me, escaping my grasp in the dark, ignoring my warnings, and fell off the bed.

"Well, what did you think would happen?" I growled as I picked her up off the floor.

He-who-fixes-everything came in then, took the tired and weeping daughter from the tired and angry mother, and went away.

Half an hour later they returned. He was ready for bed. She…not so much.

For nineteen days we took turns telling her to go to sleep, groaning softly into our pillows and and forestalling her attempts to start up a conversation. "Where Nanny? Where BamBam? I go play now?"

At 4 am I declared an intermission, and we all got out of bed for a snack and bathroom break. Pebbles took the opportunity to pee out the side of her diaper (all over both of us), so we donned fresh jammies, shared some toast with Cheez Whiz and a peach. DH decamped to the downstairs sofa, and Pebbles and I read some board books. We (finally) went to sleep at about 5 am.

All day yesterday, it was 3 am on a deserted country road inside my mind. On an electric pole, standing sentinel beside a moonlit corn field, a transformer crackled and sparked from time to time, and the Bzzzt! Bzzzzzzzzt! was the only sound for miles around.

The customers here at work were thrilled to find such a good listener, and so expounded on their problems - computer-related and otherwise - at length, while I had deep thoughts like "Yanno, I think this guy has dentures."
Bzzzt. Bzzzzzzt.

"How do I import my contacts from my backup to to Outlook?"
I want popcorn. Popcorn would be really good right now.
Bzzzt. Bzzzzzzt.

"Hello, it's Mimi from Iffy Electronicals? Could I speak with your purchasing manager, please?"
Swimming, swimming, in the swimming hole, when days are hot…

"Yes, it's Edouard from the Massive Book of Overpriced Advertisements…"
when days are coooooooooooold, in the swimming hooooooooole!
Bzt. Bzt. Bzzzzz....….t.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nine to Five...

Well, be assured that I'm doing a Fine Job.

The business is running smoothly, and we're implementing those changes and improvements that must always be there, in the works, for a business to maintain any grip on the so-short attention span of its market. (Ooh, shiny. ) I'm getting the rhythm and feel of things, and figuring out what it means to be doing all my own stuff plus the stuff I used to pay someone else to do. It's a lot, but I'm getting the hang of it.

My kids have my sort-of undivided attention in the hours between 7 and 9 am, and 6:30 and 9ish pm. I am slowly introducing them to the concept of Mommy sitting on the couch with a book. (Pebbles was highly perplexed. at first -"Why isn't mommy playing with me? She isn't cleaning or cooking or in the shower, so it's playtime, right? Mum? Can you hear me? Haloo?") I think they still know I love them, even if I am not actively engaged in the activity of their choice.

My husband, well, he gets the leftovers, such as they are. God Bless the man.

So, what I have to do now - my personal final frontier - is figure out where the heck writing fits in this new life of mine. I had hoped there would be time at work, but so far not so much. I'm not a late-night writer, so it looks like early mornings might be the thing to try next. I will fit it in somewhere.

Either that, or I will lose my ever-loving mind. Which, since I have so much going on, and children and all, really isn't the best option.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Has anybody seen the weekend?

This morning, as I was leaving for work, I waved and blew kisses to the Beloved in the window, as usual. Then I cut the wheel to turn down the driveway...

...tooted the horn....

...and creamed the front of the car with the side of the van as I passed it. Our vehicles now sport matching dents and nasty white streaks. Thank Dog for my husband, whose laughter kept me from bawling. Well, almost.

I am so very ready for a weekend.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Good morning, writer-mom

5:20 am: Wake up, because BamBam is up and singing to himself on the can. He always has, but not usually quite this early. I know someday he'll leap some developmental hurdle and stop, but I'm in no rush. I lay in bed, dozing and listening.
5:35 am: Get up, and tell BamBam that he should finish up and go back to bed. It's too early to get up.
5:50 am: Realize that I'm truly, irrevokably awake, and start thinking about getting up to write for a while.
5:51 am: Turn on the laptop.
5:52 am: Put on the kettle.
6:00 am: BamBam appears in the living room, turns on the television. I scowl, but kept typing.
6:10 am: BamBam submits request for oatmeal, because he's cold and hungry.
6:15 am: I am back at the keyboard, trying to get into the conversation Carrie and Luke are having.
6:25 am: Pebbles wakes up. She hates this part of her day, I hold her sleepy little self in my lap until she's ready to play.
6:35 am: Back at the keyboard, thinking about the father's rights in an unplanned pregnancy. Does he have any?
6:40 am: Take guitar and drumsticks away from the kids.
6:45 am: Remind adorable children that Daddy is still asleep, and now is not the time to be riding - or even pushing - the tricycle up and down the hall. Remind self not to grit teeth, it’s hard on the molars.
6:52 am: Make enquiries as to why Pebbles is buck naked. Go downstairs to rummage in laundry heap for matching clean clothes. Settle for clean clothes.
7:05 am: Back at the keyboard, thinking about Luke and the baby he wanted.
7:09 am: No, we have no bananas. We have oranges, grapes and apples. No, Pebbles, please listen. We have no bananas. We have oranges, grapes, and apples. Please be quiet, Pebbles, Daddy is…nevermind.
7:10 am: Out of time. Shut down word processor.

Word tally: 400.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tom Mabe, my new hero.

Have you heard this? OMG, my sides hurt.

Yeah, I should figure out how to do that video thing.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Sometimes, Life is Like That

Hey, I'm back.

I spent April doing the things I felt were most important, and it just happens that writing didn't make the list. I wrote maybe 1000 words - and I'm trying not to think that if I'd made my goal, I'd be nearing 60K, instead of still around 45. Oh, well. (shrug)

In amongst the Important Things of April, there were other things that did not get done, like me getting my eyes checked. Consequently, I confess I did wrinkle my nose as I plucked my last contact lens from between letters S and D on my keyboard yesterday. (eew) I could reorder online, but my prescription needs to be changed, so I'll have to cram that in somewhere. In the meantime, Ibuprophen for headaches.

Also did not get my hair cut, and did not get to the dentist. Did not buy a new belt, or new jeans. (Went to the mall once, bought one t-shirt and baseball hats for my kids. I know, I know. I suck at shopping.)

Did not get a new hamster, although I wanted to. My husband seems to think the creatures have a better shot at old age if they live somewhere else. Hmph. This, even when I patiently explained that I have talked to the cat about this and he has agreed not to eat any more of the family pets. Even if I do leave the door open. Again.

My WIP is ready to go in a new direction, away from the sadness and toward happier things. I'm glad about this because I was starting to wrory that it just might be too damned depressing. I think I had to fully explore Carrie's losses - experience them myself - before I could achieve this next phase with her. I don't feel the need to express her pain any more, I'm ready for some laughter, flirtation...and yes, sex. Also a relief, because hey, books are supposed to have sex, right?

I hope you're all well and writing like mad!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Delayed reaction

Jenny tagged me, a while back. (Sorry)

The rules:
a. Link to the person who tagged you.
b. Post the rules on your blog.
c. Write six random things about yourself.
d. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
e. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.
f. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

1. While I was growing up, I had a pony named Peggy and then a horse named Mikie. I didn't name either one.
2. I studied sciences and then history at university, but left before I got my degree in order to work full time at the business I had started with my then-boyfriend (husband now.) Still doing it, 14 years later.
3. I hate pea soup, love cheese.
4. I like to travel, but I think I'll always live in Nova Scotia.
5. I'm the oldest of four children - we're spaced over 21 years.
6. I've just realized how dull I really am.

And sorry, but it looks like everyone I know has already done this!

Monday, April 21, 2008

on a sunny April morning

Wonderful co-worker leaves on Friday. I have today and one more day off, and you betcha I'm making the most of it.

I've spent the whole month of April focusing on my family, soaking up as much of the kids as I can. I know, it's not like I'm sailing away for three months at sea, I'll be home every night at six-thirty to play and read and tickle, and mid-afternoon on Saturdays to hang out in the backyard and push the swing. Still, I feel like there's a separation coming, and it's bringing a lot of little things into focus and stirring up complex emotions that I want to express, but can't. Sometimes there just isn't language to cover this motherhood thing.

I've written very little, but I feel the story happening. I hear my characters laughing softly under blankets, and I'm puzzled because they certainly weren't sleeping together the last time I checked in with them. Carrie seems stronger now, maybe she's putting her losses aside - if not behind her - at least not cradling them in her arms any more. She's finding peace, and soon I will sit down with her and she'll tell me all about it. She knows I need this time, and she'll wait.

Tonight for supper we're having Sesame Ginger pork on the grill.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

How to have a good day

1. Subjugate your will to that of the nearest two-year-old. Sip imaginary tea from a cracked plastic cup that used to be yours back in the seventies. Read a board book three times over. Lay on the floor in a patch of sunlight with an orange cat, and listen to your daughter sing the alphabet, starting with the first letter, which is Q.

2. Dig something up - for instance, the tall yellow-flowered perrenial (latin name tall yellowus thingus) that, through lack of planning, got planted between the other two tall yellowus thinguses. Use your bare hands to fill in the hole, and don't forget to consult with your six-year-old about the best destination. He's right.

3. Be with your son in the moment when he loses his first tooth. If you're lucky, you'll get to pluck it out yourself, with no pain and very little blood. Cry a little if you need to, he is growing up so fast.

4. Take time to appreciate your daughter's imagination. Who else would think to paint a bedspread using a toothbrush and Vaseline?

5. Shut up. Stop trying to control everything. Leave the muddy footprint where it landed and pour yourself a glass of wine to sip while you cook supper.

6. Cuddle in the dark and watch a movie with your husband.

7. Don't worry that you only wrote a few hundred words. You did some very important stuff today, after all.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Huge Sigh

I've had some hard news this week - my wonderful co-worker is moving on the first of May. I'm really sad to see her go, we share the same irreverent sense of humour and she's good at the job. I'm also pretty sad about going back to a six-days-a week work schedule.

I'm not excited about hiring. I'm so tired of that process.

Anyway, I have April. I'm going to take some extra days off to be with the kids, and when that's over I'll do what I have to do. I have lots of support, it's not the end of the world.

It might be the end of my getting 10 000 words a month, though. For now.

So I'm a little bummed right now.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's one of those days.

My bottom is on the bed. My computer is in front of me, and the cursor is waiting, blinking politely. Patiently. The door is closed, the Beloved all downstairs on more-or-less good behaviour. (There's no blood, anyway. And DH is there.)

It's just, my coffee cup is empty. I'm sure that's the reason I'm having a hard time getting started today. Once my coffee cup is refilled, I'll be brilliant, I just know it. If I leave the room, though, someone might see me and then I might not get back in here by myself. It's a lot harder to write with a two-year old jumping up and down next to your laptop.

So, it's another case of AITC, these things do seem to spread. I had it on Friday as well, and wrote only 142 words. Today I am planning to move even a little further past my goal, and I will. I just need more coffee.

Then, I'll be brilliant. (G)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Random notes

Finished watching Beowulf and Grendel last night, with Gerard Butler and Sarah Polley. Now, I'm never one to jump into discussions about what character looks like which actor, because every reader has his/her own private image of a character, and it's more or less immaterial to everyone else. I've gotta say, though, yummy Gerard in this film* is what my personal Jamie looks like. Minus the red hair, of course.

* I saw him in 300 as well, and he wasn't quite the same at all. Which is good, really, as he was playing a completely different guy. (G)

I've been looking at my word meter. I love the way it grows as I move along through my story, but every now and again it occurs to me that 80K is really an arbitrary number. When I think about the parts of the story I've developed and the things that seem to be growing out of it: the themes that crop up and need to be explored, and the thoughts I have that I really just want to express through my story and my characters, I'm thinking the actual number might be closer to 100K. Which really doesn't matter, I'm not going to eliminate anything in order to write a shorter story or be done sooner! It's just that I do love seeing that little red line up over the 50% point.

This afternoon I'm going to try a recipe I've found for a chocolate cookie with toffee bits and chocolate chips. Or maybe I'll go for the one with white chocolate chunks and cherries - you see my dilemma. Hmmm.

Oh, and I plan to write today too, so I'd best run along!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Halfway there...

My birthday was the other day, I'm 35 now. Yep. True story.

26 was hard, so was 30. I used to think 35 would be rough too, but it really wasn't. I think it's because I'm in such a good spot right now, with my two wonderful kids and my incredible husband, my work and my writing and the rest of my family. It's all right if I'm getting older, because I've accomplished this much so far, and I'm working on the rest.

Speaking of which, I crossed over 50%!!! That gives me a week to write 2500 words, and that shouldn't be any problem. I'm home for the next three days, after all.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Big Reveal

Today I'm working on a scene that's going to create a turning point for Carrie, my MC. It came as a bit of a surprise to me too, actually. I didn't know how I was going to manage handing over this Missing Piece of Information, but I was driving somewhere the other day and realized that there *is* an existing person-in-the-know -overlooked because he was only an infant at the time. So I'll send Carrie off to find him, but today I'm skipping ahead to their conversation, because that's what I see right now.

It's cool how these things show up, isn't it? I don't think it'll ever get old for me. But then, I spent five years working on a novel in which this *didn't* happen - or at least not when I reallyreally needed it. It was a lovely story, but I'm afraid I'm the only person who will ever know that. Unless...

Not now. Maybe later.

It's very windy today. I can see the whitecaps on the ocean, even though we're miles away.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Now we're getting somewhere

Well, aren't we the regular blogista this week?

I'm finding that the more I let go of my control issues - nattering questions like: What is the purpose of this scene? Where, exactly, in the book does this scene belong? Shouldn't you be developing X or Y? - the happier I am, and the more the words flow. This is a hard lesson for me, because I'm having to un-learn some fundamental habits in order to stop getting in my own way. The biggest one is efficiency.

In my daily life I'm all about making the most of my time. It's a skill I've worked hard to learn. I have many hats to wear - business owner and manager, wife, mother - and in all these areas I've learned to organize, so that I don't have to do things twice, so I don't waste my time. And so when I put on my "writer" hat, I do wear it with some awareness of the passing of time and the other things I meant to accomplish today, and so it's hard not to ask myself the questions I've listed above.

Moving the computer into the bedroom when I'm writing has been a huge improvement, (how many times have I thanked you for that little pearl, Lindsay?) because it signifies to me on some subconscious level that I Am Writing Now. I'm learning to sip something hot from my favourite mug, take a deep breath...and RELAX. In that frame of mind it becomes much easier to merely listen and type, and lo! Suddenly a thousand words a day is no major thang. Suddenly it becomes possible that I might finish telling this story before I get bored of it. Suddenly I am less bored of it anyway, because things are going off in their own directions, instead of being crammed into my carefully crafted notion of the story.

Funny, I have to stop trying to get somewhere, in order to get somewhere.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Only just got the baby to bed, she totally doesn't give a rat's ass that the time changed. And I'm going to have to stop calling her "the baby" too, she's nearly two. Ha. Nevah! She'll always be "the baby" around here. (crossing self, and saying a few fervent prayers)

Logged just over a thousand words today, in between making ginger cookies and pizza with the Beloved, playing with plastic food and just...loving Sunday. I've left my thumb drive at work again. That's not a bad thing, it stops me rereading and editing! Anyway, I've deleted some scenes too, and that cost me some wordage, so I'm not anxious to do the final tally anyway.

I'm home tomorrow, and hoping for at least another thousand words.

Word meter

My zotukou word meter quit moving a while ago, and I finally got around to finding another one, and this one works. It's very familiar, wouldn't you say?

The clocks went ahead last night, which is hard on a person.(yawn) Now it's Sunday morning, and I'm trying to write with both my children here on the big bed with me, which is not going very well. I'll evict them shortly. Pebbles is jumping and BamBam is - well, he's a six-year-old boy. It doesn't matter what he's up to, it'll be loud and it'll be something he's not supposed to do.

Today I'm driving with my MC, Carrie, to a tiny house by the sea, to meet a medium named Liz.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

And it gets even better

...and then I got a surprise invite to Cora's for lunch with my mom and sister! And I ate this:

All right, I ate half of it. With a side of English custard.

Today is full of good things, I hope yours is good too!

Life is good

Gratitude is a powerful thing, and I try to remember my blessings all the time, but some days it comes easy. Like today.

Last night I got out of the shower to find my favourite pyjamas, folded dryer-warm, on the foot of our bed. They were placed there by my husband, who doesn't think that sort of gesture is anything special. I do.

This morning, the sun came out. We haven't seen it in a while. I danced to Why Georgia with Pebbles in the bedroom, and she laid her little head on my shoulder. Her hair is cinnamon, shot with sunshine.

BamBam wore a red striped shirt to school. I love him in red, I love him in stripes. My little man.

So, yeah, work can be a pain. But I have tomorrow off, and I'm writing.

The sun is shining, and I have it good.

Friday, February 29, 2008

I think I'm getting better at this

I made my goal of 8K for the month of February. Considering the month I just had, I'm very surprised by that. But yay, me! I think I'm learning to let go a bit.

So this month I'm raising my goal to 10K. That's just over 300 words a day, which sounds emminently do-able, does it not? (blink, blink) We'll see, yup. I've got my game on, now!

Congrats to Vicki on her one-year anniversary - SCENT OF SHADOWS came out one year ago! There's a give-away at Urban Fantasy Land, to celebrate.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I'm still a bit short of my goal for the end of the month, but I think I can pull it off. Some good advice from a friend - (get a quiet spot, dolt) - has been working out very well. I was writing at the kitchen table with my Beloved going about their business all around, and even though I thought I was fine, it was really interfering with my ability to really "get into" my character. So that's working much better now.

I'm also reading THE SPYMASTERS LADY, and lemme tell you, our Ms. Bourne has some chops. I'll be back to rave about that later.

In the meantime, eliminating distractions and making the most of my time remains key. I don't know what I'd do without my few buds though, this is indeed a lonely biz.

I have some funny stories I want to tell, but alas, the time...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Business as unusual

It's a full moon. Those of you who have worked in retail will understand what this means.

Take the man who called me the other day.

Him: "Yuh, hello? Zis the computer place?"
Me: "Yes, how may I help you?"
Him: "Yuh. I was just wondering, you know. My brother in law, he was goin' duck hunting. And he hadda get a gun permit AND a hunting license JUST to go duck hunting."
Me, reaching for the ibuprophen: "Right." And this has what exactly to do with me?
Him: "So, every time I turn on my TV I see people are using these computers to, like, steal money and mess up kids and stuff. I wanna know how comes you don't need a permit to have a computer."
Me: "Um. What?"
Him: "Well, yeah, like. So I called the RCMP, and they said call my MLA. And my MLA said why don't I call the computer people."
Me: "Wait, now. You resent that your brother in law needed a permit for his gun, but you think the 600 kids at my son's elementary school should require permits to have computers?"
Him: "Well, I don't see the difference. There should be a test you take to make sure you're a good person and stuff."
Me: (splutter)
Him: "See, you can use them both to hurt people."
Me: "I could use a hammer to hurt y...someone...but..."
Him: "Anyways, it's all just a money racket."
Me: "What?"
Him: "Yeah. I don't see why we can't just get rid of them."

It went on from there. I had actual brain damage. I think I still do.

Monday, February 11, 2008

mental space

Yes, I did it again. Three-four days went by and I did not write. Now I'm sitting here wearing a grimace and a dunce cap, trying to slip into character while the phone rings and customers come and go. What I really need is a door.

I've been thinking to myself about private mental spaces - retreats - that writers go to when they're working. I'm building mine now, maybe you can visit me when it's done. Jo has a nice spot (See December 1st, 2007 post). Where do you go to block out the world?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

My poor little brain

I'm still wrestling with this, but it's not a grim, life-and-death battle, it's more like trying to get the top off the pickles.

Today I sat down and explained my whole story to my co-worker. This is a strategy I often use when I'm "stuck" - whether it be something to do with accounting, a personal dilemma, or my writing. "Come here and listen to me for a sec" is a request that my employees come to understand - they're really only required to pull up a chair and be a warm body with ears. Maybe nod occasionally. The act of explaining the problem to someone else often squeezes whatever synapse is clogged, and I am suddenly free again.

Anywho, this verbal synopsis did help to clear up some of my muddy-headedness in regard to the way I want to develop some of the suspense through the end of the first part of the story. Today I'll sketch out a few scenes to fill in that gap. Yay! It's working!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Writer, know thyself

I am now at the point where it all died the last time – the beginning of the middle. I know what went wrong with JUNIPER – the getting stuck, and the endless rewriting of the first third of the book - and I'm determined not to make the same mistake again. And yet, I feel the gears slowing.

What's happening? I'm losing track of my plot, and I'm feeling that impulse to go back over what I've written, to refresh my memory, to make sure it makes sense. Trouble is, I don't fool me. I know what's happening here. This is starting to look like a big job, and I'm getting intimidated. I want to reassure myself that I know what I'm doing, so I think it's a good idea to go back and look at what I've written. And I know exactly what I'll do, if I go there.

I'll fiddle. I'll pick. I'll rearrange. I'll stall. I'll do anything – except tuck in my chin, put my head down, and work through the doubts.

The first part of my story is like the shallow end of the pool, and I'll wallow there indefinitely if I give myself that chance.

So I've struck a compromise. I've got out the damned cue cards, yes I have. And I've written a brief description of each scene on one, right up to the place where Part Two definitely begins. Then I put a butterfly clip on that stack of cards, and set them aside. That process was my review, and that's all there's going to be for now. No setting them out of the floor and arranging them according to the tension requirements, no organizing them to best show the development of relationships. That's it, that's all. I've got blank cards now, and it's about brainstorming the new material from this point on.

And you know what? I think it's going to be ok.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Blowing chunks

I'm entering a new phase here - leaving the more-or-less linear pattern I was following, and reverting to my previous habit of floundering around in chunks of story which have no apparent destination in the actual book. I mean, of course they go somewhere. Hehe. I think.

Writing style - not voice, but strategy - is something that seems to happen TO me, rather than being a tool I use to get the job done. Sometimes I feel like I'm just here for the ride, just listening, just getting it onto the paper. This week has been like that. And since the characters are fighting for air-time, I'll take it! The trick will be to take control again when they stop. One ought not to be a victim of the craft, after all.

So for now I'll take it on faith that all shall be revealed to me in good time, and happily fling nonsense on the page until then. At least it's fun.

My January goal was (cough) not met.
In February, I will aim at 8K again, and try to get to the keyboard every day, even if it's only to write fifteen lousy words.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Whoa, Nelly!

I've got my love interest right, now...and how! Scenes are opening up faster than I can get notes down.


Thinking, and thinking too much

These...God, is it really weeks?...away from my WIP have brought a few things to the front of my mind. Some are flaws in my Master Plan, some are niggling doubts that I'm tempted to ascribe to inactivity. The profession that I have chosen for my Handsome Fella is wrong, I think. And the way they meet sets up a permanent conflict that I'm not sure can be resolved the way I would ask my readers to believe. So I have a new plan for him, and I'm going to try that out a bit and see how it feels.

I got a few hundred words yesterday, and I'm at home today, so I'm planning a few hundred more. Still have my sights set on that 30% mark!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Hand to Hold

Today is about my writing, come what may.

Except for, yanno, customers and high-priority Work Stuff. (G)

But I'm in a chair in front of my computer and I have scenes stirring behind my eyes, and that feels awfully good.

I'm aiming to cross the 30% mark today.

UPDATE, 4:30 pm

Have so far written the word "My."
Have sold two kick-ass gaming boxes, received, checked, labelled and put away three shipments, and taken about 20 phone calls. Listened to complaints from a technician about the new line of computer cases that (apparently) are hateful and inadequate. I have left nine messages, I have collected some money and I have eaten almost a whole box of swiss cheese crackers. I've browbeaten one RMA department into returning some software I did not order even though the invoice clearly states that there are no returns on software. (I didn't ORDER it, for chrissakes!) I have rearranged half the store - DID NOT mean to get into that but we were fast running out of shelf space. Oh, and DH stopped by with Pebbles, so I stopped to kiss her neck a dozen times.

I still need to place five hardware orders, pay my Visa, and clear off co-worker's desk before she comes back tomorrow and finds all kinds of crap tossed there for lack of a tidier destination.

And so I have written one. word.

And such is the road to hell.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Still Here

I've been away from my keyboard too much this month and I hate it.

I do, however, have some new insights into the development of a major relationship, including where this relationship is at the *end* of the story.

I also understand better now why my MC is so angry at her (dead) husband, and I've begun to see the true extent of the guilt she has carried since the accident that took him.

More than that, I'll save for the actual WIP, freshly entitled:


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Joanna Bourne, and The Spymaster's Lady

There's a contest over at Jen's blog for a signed copy of Jo's new book! Get thee hence!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Look who came to visit!

These guys thought it was a good day to hang out at my house, too. Seven of them!

A day at home

Hello, fellow writers and moms!

Things have been busy and stressful and sleepless and there has been little-to-no-time for anything other than the absolutely necessary. Life does that sometimes, and that's all right. I can handle it.

But I am letting myself off the hook today. I am tidying up the last of the post-holiday mess, and I am playing aqua-doodle and Little People. I am baking cheddar cheese bread with jalapeno peppers and sundried tomatoes. I am still in my pyjamas at 1 pm, and I am staying far away from that bathroom scale. Today is about me and the kids, and when wonderful husband comes home, it'll be about him too. And maybe a movie and some buttery popcorn.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Back to Real Life

Can you spot the theme, here?

Scenario One:

Big family dinner (is there another kind?) at my parents' house. Uncle watches me lay Pebbles down on the carpet, preparing to change her diaper. He turns to my Dear Loving Husband, and asks, "So, is she a good eater?"

replies DLH: "She's getting to be. She was only about 110 lbs when I met her."


Scenario Two:

New Years' Eve at our house. I have offered a snack to my little sister, who is thirteen, 5"4 and 95 lbs.

Me: "Toast?"
Her: "No, I don't really like bread."
Me: "You don't like bread? Well, that'll keep you thin."
- Pause -
Her: "So, you must really like bread, hunh?"
Me: "Oh, yes, I love br...HEY!"


So anyway.

Pebbles has finally broken the 20lb barrier! She was 20 lbs from March to December, and finally weighed in at 21 on Christmas Day. I bet my DLH that she'd lose it by the next day, and lost. 21 lbs at 21 months. Go, Pebbles, my little firecracker!

My word goal for this months is utterly unrealistic, what with Everything, including my company's year end and the fact that I haven't written anything in THREE DAYS. The drought ends tonight.

For supper: Lasagne. For lunch: one overripe banana.