Month: July 2013

How Do You Measure A Year?

I knew it was coming, knew it was coming, and now, WHAM! My blogoversary has snuck up on me.  Yup, today is one year since the “birth” of Mrs Fringe.

I’m in the midst of a dental emergency, and whatever they gave me at the dentist this morning is wearing off, so I’m going to keep this short.  Also without all of the links I had intended to post.  Just go ahead and check out my blog roll.  Really.  Every single blogger on my roll is someone whose words I read, someone I respect, someone with something to say, through words or images, that touches my heart.

English: Toothache 13th century corbel head on...

English: Toothache 13th century corbel head on St.Andrew’s chancel arch suffering with toothache for around 750 years whilst his friend opposite grins unsympathetically (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I began Mrs Fringe in the hopes of giving myself a safe place to navel gaze, vent, be honest, and get my writing synapses connecting again.  It has fulfilled every one of these hopes and much, much more.  I didn’t know if anyone would be interested in reading what I had to say, and that was ok.  Did I hope my ramblings would reach a few people?  Of course I did.  Hell, I fantasized about one of those sensational “hit it” blogs that result in legions of followers and a book deal.  I also fantasize about winning the lottery.  But I don’t buy lottery tickets, I blog.  So here we are, one year later.  No legions, no book deal, but the reality is that I have more followers, made more friends, had more great conversations, met more interesting people than I ever thought could/would really happen.

I also completed a manuscript, Wanna Bees–that I’m now querying–and have begun another one.  I submitted a few short stories, wrote a few more.

Mrs Fringe may not be an overnight sensation, but for me, it is a rip roaring success.  Because of you, my readers, my Fringelings,  who have stopped to check out a post and stayed to become a member of Fringeland.  In my opinion, a blog is only as good as its community, and we’ve built a hell of a little community here together.  Thank you, for visiting, for following, for joining in the conversation whether you agree with my opinion or not.  All are respected, all have been respectful, and all are welcome.

I feel honored and humbled by each and every “follow,” each and every person who takes the time to comment. Very few of the people who have become a part of Mrs Fringe are people I know “in real life.”  Hell, even among those few, most are people I’ve met online, through blogging, special needs moms communities, or writing.

In this year, I’ve written 177 posts

Gathered 234 followers

Received 3, 386 comments

Had 11, 675 views

from 91 countries

Been asked to guest blog by people who stumbled upon my blog.

Been Freshly Pressed once

Gotten more joy, support, laughs, tears, and warm fuzzies than I thought possible.

Remembered what it is to be a person, an individual, a woman thinking about the world with something to say.

Last August, one of my posts was chosen for Freshly Pressed.  It was two days after I posted, and I had no clue why I suddenly had all these comments waiting for me.  A new blogger, I had no clue what Freshly Pressed was.  I don’t consider it one of my “best” posts, but being recognized among the WordPress community was, in an overused and abused word, awesome.  I like to think that one day, with more posts under my keyboard and a greater understanding of what I’m doing here, it will happen again.

Confession.  I am a bad blogger.  Good bloggers have a posting schedule and stick to it.  I don’t.  Good bloggers show their readers they care about and respect them by paying for upgrades.  I do care about and respect you, but I haven’t paid for upgrades.  sorry. It’s a budgeting thing.  Good bloggers have one very specific focus, so viewers/readers/followers know right away what type of blog it is, and what they’ll be reading about each time.  Oops. Good bloggers don’t use expletives to get their point across, and certainly never in their titles.  Shit.

Have I said thank you clearly enough?  Muchas gracias.

And now, I’m going to see if I’ve got any pennies left in my bag after today’s shakedown at the dentist.  Maybe someone still sells this.

English: "Cocaine toothache drops", ...

English: “Cocaine toothache drops”, 1885 advertisement of cocaine for dental pain in children. United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Toll Road Ahead

Well, I haven’t gotten any further on Astonishing, and no beach days, but we’ve done a little exploring of the Northeast.  And by exploring, I mean dropping off Nerd Child at his summer program and visiting Man Child and Miss Lovely Music.  We went to eat at the restaurant where Man Child is working, and this picky picky Mama says without hesitation the food was delicious.

Much as I drool over the fantasy of a beach vacation, it’s been glorious to take a couple of opportunities to leave the city, and just breathe.  The air really does smell different–and we weren’t on any farms, so no manure, just sweet.  Bonus points for allowing myself to have time away from screens without guilt.

As a bonus while traveling, the dealership we bought the car through screwed up.  We paid extra to have a navigation system and iPod thingie put in. The navigation system stopped working after two days.  Then we discover  the DVD player isn’t working anymore either. Turns out they disabled the DVD player in order to place the new GPS–but didn’t tell us.  Nice business practice.  So glad we went there, so we could feel confident we’d be treated decently by Husband’s relatives.

We’ve never had a DVD player in a car before, wasn’t on our list of necessities–hell, it wasn’t even on our wish list.  But it came in the car we bought, and I assume the cost was built into the price of the vehicle.  Now they have to replace the whole navigation/iPod/radio unit, because the one they put in really isn’t working, it wasn’t that we hit a wrong button. And they tell us we can’t have the DVD player working anymore–unless we want to pay more to have them install a different DVD unit.  WTF?!

I, of course, want my money back.  Take the damn car somewhere else to have a system installed.  Nope, they can’t/won’t give us a refund.  So glad I spent a gajillion dollars for a car with a bazillion miles on it, so I can have all the little perks that make traveling more pleasant.  Fuck!

We arrived home much later than expected after visiting Man Child, caught behind a s-l-o-w moving vehicle on a twisty two lane highway.  I walked into the apartment holding my breath, and was unsurprised to see puddles on the floor.  Hmmm, that’s an awfully big puddle for Little Incredibly Dumb Dog.  Must have been Big Senile Dog.  Wait, no, that isn’t his pee-in-the-house pattern.  Cause, yanno, if he’s going to have an accident, he likes to dance around as he does so he can pretend it isn’t him–and leaving a trail everywhere.  Both of them?!?!  Nope, turned out my Swiffer mop sprang a leak, and it was all cleaning solution.  I now have one very clean area of the living room floor, especially the undersides of the planks, where it all sank in.  Lovely.

We plan to leave the city again for a couple of days next week, to do some further exploring and explore my Mrs Fringe wants to live in the country fantasies.  Manhattan may be an island, but you can forget any thoughts of cool breezes.  Asphalt and concrete traps every last bit of breathable air during a heat wave.  Tar Beach, indeed.  The heat wave is over now, though, and today is gray and cool.  Really cool.  No winning in the city this summer.

I used to be one of those moms who always meant to bring the camera, but would either forget to charge it or forget to bring it.  Now, because of blogging, I bring the camera most times.  Embarrassing to the boys, I get it, I look like a tourist.  “But it’s for the blog!” has become my battle cry.


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Which Way?

A depiction of Bugs Bunny's evolution through ...

A depiction of Bugs Bunny’s evolution through the years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What’s that old quote, and who said it?  Something like, the only constant is change. Quite likely I’ve mangled it for my own meandering purposes.

I’ve been working on, trying to work on, the new WIP.  The new WIP, the old WIP, the WIP being queried, I’m getting dizzy.  Let me slap a title on there for convenience.  Working title–Astonishing.

Pretty sure I’ve already mentioned this one is much slower going.  Like glacial.  Wrote a paragraph yesterday and when I closed the file I wasn’t sure if I should think, “woot!” or “wtf?”  Afterwards, I was talking to a writing friend about it.  Told her this one feels different, the process is different.  Instead of feeling a fluid rush for each scene, it’s like the words have changed form, changed states. Instead of a flow, I’ve got nothing tangible and then whomp! I’ve been clipped upside the head with a hard-packed snowball.  That’s my paragraph.  On a good day, a page.  On a few notable days I was able to produce a few pages.

LOST: Snowball

LOST: Snowball (Photo credit: jaqian)

The strangest part is that while I’m not “flowing,” I don’t feel stuck, either.  The frustration is more theoretical.  It’s summer, my time is more flexible, I should be able to produce more.  It’s been a thousand degrees outside for a week here in NY.  There shouldn’t be anything frozen anywhere.  Stooped with a friend the other morning, and I swear I was melting.  When I stood up there was a clear outline of my butt on his stoop.  In sweat.    Stooping, for non-NYers, is an outdoor chat, held on the stoop of the front steps of a house or building.  A time honored tradition in the outer boroughs, second only to stoop-ball, both less frequently indulged here in Manhattan.

But I like it.  I like what I’ve got, and where I think I can go.  I tell myself this is better.

And then I beat myself up for the fact that I’ve yet to introduce my second main character.  He’s a hoarder, and after four weeks of obsessing and researching I’ve yet to decide on the primary focus for his hoard.

Then I wonder if this is just me tripping myself up again.  A metaphor for the rest of my life, not sure what the next step is until I’ve fallen into a hole and the only option is to climb out.

I think I haven’t gotten enough beach days.

A Helluva Town

You know those times when you want to reach out, connect, but you don’t feel like talking?

Yeah.  So I’m doing a NY themed photo post today.  Yes, that’s right, more crappy photos for your viewing pleasure.  Try to contain your excitement.



Brooklyn Beach



Sand Snippets:  Those disjointed words, phrases, and sentences you hear when lying on a crowded beach.


–Russian I don’t understand


–Sal, c’mere, meet my friend Maureen, she’s single.


–Ice Cold Beer, Here, Nutcrackers!


Mira, coñaso!


–Russian I don’t understand


–and he cut her whole chest open, on her bed.  She met him online, shiiit.


–Hot Pretzels!


–Are you depressed?

I’ll be happy when I get my frappucino.


–More Russian I don’t understand


–Gimme the vodka




–I want an iceeee!


–Check her out


–I don’t wanna go in the water


–Fuck ‘em


–More Russian


–I hate this sand, so dirty.

Me too, and the water is disgusting.

Yeah.  You ready to go in and cool off?



–Russian commentary from a woman watching two guys playing chess

Pushing Forward

Sometimes I would like to say forget it, crawl into bed, and stay there for about three weeks.  If you hadn’t noticed, I’m in one of those stretches right now but hiding in a bed of apathy isn’t possible, or feasible.  Instead I will smile and nod and use the apathy as sunscreen. Keep doing what needs to be done until I forget to apply the sunscreen and realize (about three days later) I haven’t burned after all.


Perfect sky, no?

Perfect sky, no?

So strange, isn’t it?  I live in the land and age of immediate gratification, entitlement.  No matter how aware I am of these ridiculous and selfish concepts, they’re insidious.  I want it IwantitIwantit….Part of the daily bombardment of media and those who seem to be living large all around me.


But Fringeland is all about caution and hurry up and wait.  Wait for bills, wait for money to pay said bills, wait for test results, wait for responses to queries, and the writing itself, for me, is a slow process.  For every hour I spend writing I probably spend another three thinking about what and how to write those words, and then another two editing.  And of course, waiting for apathy to blow over, replaced with the usual numb inertia with those invaluable moments of peace. Of this is okay.  I’m okay.


I’m thinking about all of this as I push forward with my WIP.  Slow going, this one.  No beach read here, I want it to have the intensity of my short stories. Which means each and every word has to be the right one.  (This is not to say genre fiction isn’t written carefully, with serious attention to craft, just a different style.) Darker than the last, but equally surreal.  I’ve decided I have enough realism in my day to day.  For now, I’m sticking to the literary equivalent of surrealism. Enough reality to be recognizable, no elves, dragons, or fae, but where the impossible just is.

Yves Tanguy Indefinite Divisibility 1942, Albr...

Yves Tanguy Indefinite Divisibility 1942, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other night Husband and I went out for dinner.  It was raining, but not one of the crazy storms we’ve been experiencing.  Weekends in the city are fairly quiet, just the peasants without summer homes or plans, so the restaurant was half empty.  The restaurant itself has big plate glass doors that fold back, and they were open since the evening was cool.  As I was bemoaning the hideousness of my twitter pitching experience, the awning covering the outdoor tables fell.  Talk about surreal.  At that point it was raining enough that I think there was only one table with customers out there.  I told you, Fringelings, nothing good comes of al fresco dining in the city.  A waitress was clipped in the head but able to get right back up.  When we left, she was standing near the entry, ice pack on her head.  I swear I could feel her willing that damned bump and nausea to die back down.  Who can afford a day  or two or three of lost tips?

Onward. I had planned to query the finished manuscript slowly, and I have been, but it occurred to me last night that if I go any slower I might as well not query at all.  So I’ll pick up the pace a bit.  And I’ll keep working on this new WIP, searching for the right words.

Where Are My Damned Marbles?


Marbles…. (Photo credit: kevinjay.)

I seem to have misplaced a few of mine.  Ok, most of them.  Have any to spare?

Here I sit, twitching.  Is it because I’m pitching my manuscript on Twitter today, or the unreasonable quantity of espresso I’ve already consumed?

And just what am I doing on Twitter, anyway?  I should be wearing purple and making dates with ladies who lunch.  Shouldn’t I?  I tendered my resignation to Hope a while back, so what is all this? I keep saying I give up, I accept my small life, my downward mobility.  And yet, I keep writing.  And trying.  Not just querying, but things like this twitter pitch event.

Several months ago I saw a new lit mag being formed, looking for submissions for their debut issue.  Reputable names involved, and the theme for the issue seemed perfect for a story I had in the files.  Dusted it off, polished it up, submitted.  Said lit mag seems to have disappeared into a black hole of cyberspace.

When we moved into our current apartment, I did so with the understanding I’ll be here until I have the big one, join ‘Lizabeth, and Husband slides my stiff cold body down the compactor chute.  Funerals are so expensive, they’ve got to be bourgeois by now. I’d best stop gaining weight, it’s a narrow opening. So how come I keep watching HGTV, and studying real estate websites?

moon rises over the crumbling sand castle

moon rises over the crumbling sand castle (Photo credit: sandcastlematt)

A long long time ago, in a land of hope and extreme gas shortages, there was a movie titled The End, starring Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise.  It was a black comedy about a man (BR) trying to kill himself, who keeps screwing up, aided by a delusional mental patient (DD).  Yeah, so I feel like the Reynolds character.  If I had a cavity I’d probably be sucking down an ice cold milkshake.  I’m supposed to have stopped this nonsense by now.

I’m a mother of three.  Special needs/Medical Needs, plain old Growing Up Needs, they are my priority.  That’s supposed to be enough, knowing I’ve done/am doing my best to raise three well adjusted, responsible people.


Husband is off today.  Flower Child keeps hoping to see me packing the beach bag every time I get up.  “Is Daddy off?  Why is he dressed?  Why aren’t you dressed?  Are we going to the beach?  Why is it clouds today?  Why does it matter how many times you Twitter?  Do you have an agent yet?  Are we going to the beach?”  But I’m glued to Twitter for the day.

I’m well aware of priorities, well aware of *what’s really important.*  Health and well being of children, important.  Mom’s dreams?  Much further down the list.  I should be crossing them off.  Should have crossed them off long ago.  I thought I did.  I think it must be some kind of gag ink, those irritating fantasies of me-as-a-person keep reappearing.

My Year in Lists

My Year in Lists (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s Special: Humble Pie

Shoofly Pie

Shoofly Pie (Photo credit: librarykitty)

No matter how many slices I eat, there’s always more.

We pushed forward with car shopping, out of necessity.  The special joys of used car shopping with a long list of necessities, a longer wish list, and a limited budget.  Conducted under a broiling sun with 95% humidity, to ensure my brain cells didn’t communicate with each other too quickly.

We were on one lot where I swear the salesman was comedian Jon Lovitz.  Looked like him, spoke like him, I melted into a chair in the office, clutched my styrofoam cup of water and expected to hear, “Live, from New York, it’s Saturday NIGHT!”  Of course, we were in New Jersey, but no matter.

No matter how I searched, where I searched, it turns out my idea of what I should be able to get with my money had no relationship with reality.  We found a car, were treated well by the dealership we bought it through, but it has more miles on it than any used car I ever purchased.  I’m trying to remind myself that the expected life span of engines/mileage is much higher than it used to be.

I thought I was too old for this.  Too old to go back to the days where I’d buy something when I wasn’t 100% confident the vehicle would get me from Point A to Point B without question.  At first I thought our budget was enough to buy one of those lovely used vehicles that are termed “previously owned.”  You know, about two years old, just turned in at the end of a lease.  Then I thought, ok, we can get something a few years older, but we’ll be able to get something that has ALL the bells and whistles, maybe 50,000 miles on it.  Oh, Mrs Fringe, you foolish, foolish woman.

Wrecked car

Wrecked car (Photo credit: The Library of Virginia)

Given the realities, I think we did ok.  Several of my fish freak friends are also car buffs/mechanics, and they think I did ok, but wow.  Those little ice picks through the forehead that remind me of my continuing path of downward mobility don’t stop puncturing my brain.

Buying the car was a two day process.  We looked, I sat–yes indeed, with the little back problem I’ve got, top of my list of necessities was how the seats felt and whether or not there was lumbar support–test drove, sat more, looked more, went off site and had a discussion, went back and talked more, began the process, inspection and negotiation of our car for trade in value, went home to NY and got Flower Child and Nerd Child, brought them back to NJ, paperwork, call the insurance company, blah blah blah, “oops, forgot our title.”  We agree to bring it back in the morning, leave a separate check for a missing title in case we’re scammers.

Went back to NJ yesterday (the car does ride nicely, everything seems to work, and it’s cleaner and prettier than it ever will be again) with the title, children, and mother in law, deal with the other miscellaneous forgotten bits of buying a car.  I swear I don’t remember this ever taking so many, many hours in the past.  While we’re waiting for…something, I check twitter, and see a breakdown of how many of each category (middle grade, young adult, new adult, adult) pitches have been selected for the contest I entered. Not looking hopeful for Mrs Fringe.  I said some not nice words from the depths of my Brooklyn soul, and think I might have scared our salesman.  Unfortunate, because he’s a cousin of Husband’s, likely I will see him again.

Done. Suck it up, take a breath, move forward.  It is what it is, I am where I am, and it’s definitely a big step up from our old car by the time it was traded in.

I haven’t done any real writing in a couple of weeks.  I felt stuck, I was working on the pitch for this contest (part two of said contest is Friday, so still hope), was lost on a never-ending used car lot of big numbers.

Take another breath and get your shit together, Mrs Fringe.

Mrs Pilgrimm

Mrs Pilgrimm (Photo credit: David Wilson Clarke)

Sol y Mar, on the Rocks

Stroll on the beach with me?

Stroll on the beach with me?

We did get to the beach the other day for a couple of hours.  My peace, my soul, my bliss.  I will be happy at any beach.  Obviously, the ones with clean sand and water are better, but I’m not all that picky.  The Brooklyn beaches with their layer of scum and floating you-don’t-want-to-know-what works for me too.

The above photo is of Sandy Hook, NJ. My favorite “local” beach.  It hurt my heart to go there, seeing the damage still in evidence from Hurricane Sandy.  I’m impressed and amazed at how much it’s been fixed up over the last months, and the road on the Hook is now smoothly paved.  But you still see many businesses closed or closing on the highway leading to it, and the bathrooms are still out of commission.  No thanks, Johnny on the Spot.  I’ll skip the porta-potty and just clench those kegels until I get back home.

I’m sure I rambled about this last year, but I’m going to do so again.  Mrs Fringe ❤ Beach.  I don’t know the word for it, but there’s a feeling I get when on a beach that I just don’t/can’t get anywhere else.  Stress levels drop, anxiety lessens, I feel…calm.  I feel well.  For me, it’s like being halfway through a perfectly mixed gin and lemonade.  You know that point?  Just enough so the gin is the most delicious substance to hit your tastebuds, smiling, relaxed, that neutral strip between this-mind-numbing-daily-grind-is-crushing-me and foolishly-relaxed-and-happy-I-CAN.

Alas, poor Yorick, we loved him well

Alas, poor Yorick, we loved him well

Flower Child also loves the beach.  Part of it is not mysterious, it’s a purely physical comfort.  She doesn’t sweat, and playing in the water with the constant breeze off the ocean lets her enjoy a summer day. But part of it is that same mystery gene I’ve got, from before there were any known medical issues, when she was a baby, and the beach was just plain joy at first experience.

I wonder, if I lived on the beach, would my writing flow more easily? Or would I feel too good, and lose the drive to write? I wonder why I’ve never set a story on the beach, or in a beach town.  Maybe it’s too hard to tap into enough conflict imagining such a life.

In my next life, I want a beach house.

But for this life, I take those days when I can, how I can.  Revel in the contrast of my toes in cold waves and shoulders baking under the sun, while the scent of the saltwater wakes me from the inertia of the day to day, and the spray of the water is a protective coating.

Summer of…

Rain cloud

Rain cloud (Photo credit: State Farm)

Suckage.  Last year was the Summer of Death.  I’m trying to decide if this is a step up or down.  The weather in New York continues to be strange, we seem to have turned into a depressing morph that combines the frequent rains of the Pacific Northwest with the intensity of storms in the Southeast.  July 3, and there has yet to be a day where I can get to the beach where the weather has cooperated.

We did go to visit with the kids’ godparents the other day.  Man Child met us there with his girlfriend, which was lovely.  Even better, he brought me a super special bonus surprise, my favorite treat.  DSCN2582Don’t judge, they’re delicious and not available in the city.  Not so good, I was in a significant amount of pain by the time we arrived.  Our minivan is no longer reliable for trips over 30 minutes.  We borrowed my in-laws’ car.  Great to have the option, but there’s something about the shape of the seats in that car that doesn’t work with the curve of my spine.  Ouch.

This led us to new-used car shopping in NJ yesterday.  Eventually, my heart will start beating again, and we’ll continue looking. WTF?  Where did the used cars go?  Cars from 2010, 2011, 2012 are still way too pricey.  I am not kidding when I say I saw a truck with 72,000 miles on it for $24,000.  And no, it wasn’t a Cadillac, Lexus, or anything like that.

For bonus pleasure, the weather continued swinging wildly.  We wandered half the lots in pouring rain, the other half blinded by sun reflecting off of wet asphalt and car windshields, a little steam thrown on for good measure.  On our way home, we stopped in one of the Manhattan car places on 11th Avenue, where it took longer to get a salesman to escort us up to where they keep the used cars than it did for us to scout the floor and realize there was nothing in our budget.

Gave up and were greeted by the traditional wildlife of NY summers underground. Oh, this urban jungle.



When I’m walking the beasts on these hot, wet summer nights, I can actually hear their legs skittering on the sidewalk ahead of us, just to illustrate how substantial they are.

I should be writing, I want to be writing, but I can’t get my head into this new character yet.  So I’ve been working on a twitter pitch (I’m calling it a twitch, it only makes sense) for the completed manuscript for an online event next week.  Decided I would make a treat.  Who doesn’t think it’s a good idea to put the oven on when its 99% humidity?  Guava cheese pastries.  Didn’t work out so well.

Perfectly delicious guayaba, wasted.

Perfectly delicious guayaba, wasted.

It’s only been a week, this summer will improve, right? Please?