Pinch and Dollop

^^The above title means nothing.  I’m a bit scattered today but feel like yapping, so this will be a scattered post.

I woke up this morning happy to not hear the sound of rain, looking forward to that first morning vat of coffee with an hour to myself.  All quiet, Art Child still asleep, dogs still on their bed and Husband left early for work.

That early morning brain didn’t calculate quickly enough.  Dogs still on their bed with me out of mine.  Yup, left the bedroom and walked through a stream of dog piss.  Aaah, kidney disease in an old, sizable dog.  Remember folks, I don’t live in a house.  It’s a high rise building, which means even if I “catch him” mid pee, at this point there’s no stopping him til I can push him out the door to the yard.  It’s leaving the apartment, waiting for the elevator, riding the elevator down, and then walking through the lobby to get outside.  Don’t ask, the answer is yes, I have been walking him more frequently.  Good times.

So after I washed the floor for the twelfth time this week and got the girl to school, I went for a walk.

Nice morning, cool angles.

Nice morning, cool angles.

Strolled down Broadway to the super duper stupor inducing home store.  I’ve spent a lot of money in that store over the years, but most of it has been outfitting dorm rooms for the boys.  Not today.  Today I was buying a mop.  Why yes, I have been washing the floor with a sponge on my hands and knees.  And double yes, my back has been singing an aria between the extra walks and the floor washing.  I’m tired, I’m frustrated, I was not just buying a mop, I was buying the king of all mops.  Of course, the one I wanted wasn’t on a shelf reachable by customers, but the man in the store was nice and accommodating, brought over the 50 foot rolling ladder and brought down the box I wanted.

Came home, opened the box, and found these.

A little daunting that the bit packed on top was the stop sign.

A little daunting that the bit packed on top was the stop sign.

Have no fear, Fringelings.  I’m a mother of three.  I’ve assembled countless Lego sets and performed surgery on multiple Barbies.  Not nearly as tricky as all the individual little bags made it seem it would be.  And now, a question.

Why has no one made me buy this before today?  I love this fucking thing.  I honestly couldn’t believe what a great job it did, while leaving the floor dry within seconds.  Well worth the $11,000 for a mop. Less 20%, because I remembered the coupon, whee!

Soon I  have to go pick up Art Child.  But first, I’m going to enjoy my floors while they’re clean and dry.


This Way Lies Madness

Make it stop!!!!

Make it stop!

That’s in the hallway outside my apartment.  It’s been chirp-shrieking for three days now.  Why, oh why, doesn’t someone with a ladder come and change the battery?

Little Incredibly Dumb Dog is afraid of the sound.  She spent all of Saturday quaking. She barks and jumps like a wee mop lunatic for me to pick her up every time we’re in the hall waiting for the elevator to go down for a walk.  By yesterday, she realized it can’t actually harm her through the door when she’s in the apartment, so she spent last night demonstrating her valor by growling and barking at the doorknob.  All. Night. Long.

I considered (for about the 29th day in a row) working on the short story I’ve been building in my mind. Nope, not yet.

Big Senile Dog is only bothered by the little one’s shenanigans.  I think his hearing is going, in addition to his kidneys.  Why yes, I did have to take him back to the vet for more testing, and spoke with her a while ago.  Renal failure.  We’re going to try to keep him as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.  The thing is, when you live in this world of medical mayhem I’ve been party to in the last ten years or so, part of your brain starts sifting through and throwing up memories of every one of these moments when you hear test results.  Fucked up as this sounds, I’ve dealt with much worse.  Sorry.  I love my beasts, but watching Husband turn blue?  Worse.  Art Child turn blue? No contest.

Big Senile Dog was a gift from my brother.  What an awesome gift, right?  None of us dreamed of the extent of  it until he became an unofficial but invaluable service dog for my daughter.  In the dog/people world, Big Senile Dog’s breed hasn’t been “just” a pet for very long.  They’re working dogs.  Bless his tired, scrawny body, he’s worked for us.  Gift isn’t the word, I don’t think there is one.

I didn’t cry when the vet told me, just asked questions about how best to keep him comfortable, and stressed that I don’t want him to suffer.  We should still have at least a couple of months with him.  I’ve been on the receiving end of bad news for people and critters I hold near and dear many times, and many lessons learned.  Among them, falling apart doesn’t mean you care more, not falling apart doesn’t mean you care less.  I will say, though, falling apart while speaking with a doctor makes it much harder to take in the necessary information, understand what they’re saying, and then move forward with what needs to be done.  This doesn’t mean I don’t feel, I’ve just become, I don’t know…judicious? in the when and where.  Try to be, anyway.

I’d like to say I’ve learned all these marvelous spiritual lessons, but in all honesty I can’t.  What I’ve learned is that all I don’t know, can’t control or predict, is vast– and there are no safe assumptions.  Not assuming medical science can treat all or even identify all.  Not assuming good writing trumps all.  Not assuming what I believe is everyone’s truth–or even my truth a year from now.

Nerd Child was home a couple of weeks ago, and sounded like shit.  His asthma and allergies were flaring, and I told him approximately 53,000 times how important it is for him to take care of himself.  In completely age appropriate teenaged boy spirit he told me, “Don’t worry, Ma.  I’m not dead yet.”  Flippant, sure.  But a good reminder to keep perspective, too.

So no, I’m not crying, but I need the musical equivalent of comfort food.

I am Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Rabe (Photo credit: cbertel)

Maybe not me, but my writing.  I think.  Hell, maybe it is me.

Broccoli rabe, kalamata olives, vinegar, hot peppers, capers, just about any type of cheese–the stinkier the better.  I’ve never tasted anchovies.  When I was younger, no one I knew ate them, and by the time I realized they were probably a food I’d enjoy, I was long a vegetarian.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m a “foodie,” there are plenty of basic, simple comfort foods that make my list.  Oatmeal with tons of salt and butter, cheetos, pb&j.  Yes, peanut butter–the real kind–no additives.  I don’t know about your house, but in my house we go through gallons of it.  Nothing says comfort like a sammich.  Mrs Fringe ❤ bread.  But if I had to choose my two favorite sandwiches, one would be a lightly toasted extra sharp Irish white cheddar with sour pickle slices on sourdough, and the other would be chèvre, kalamata olives, fresh dill and sliced cucumbers on baguette.

Like anything else, these foods are only good if they’re fresh and prepared well.  Same with writing, words and stories.

I enjoy strong flavors, strong opinions, strong words.  Things that make my tongue and my brain tingle.  Not everyone agrees, not on their plates and not on their book shelves.

Not everyone likes the same books I do, the same authors.  Not everyone *gasp* enjoys my stories.  But those that do, really do.  Kind of like those that have a taste for broccoli rabe.  It doesn’t mean it’s a “flavor” that’s inherently bad or good, individual tastes vary.  It occurs to me as I type, this might be seen as a cryptic message about rejections.  Nope.  Still waiting, haven’t heard yay or nay on the fulls that are out.  Just flagellating myself while I wait.  Umm, I mean, thinking.  Just thinking.

It’s Friday, Friday Night Madness tonight.  Fatigue is coming over, we’ll have dinner, one beer each, and laugh.  Art Child will show him her latest sketches.  We’ll cluck and tear up and sniffle a bit as I give him the update on Big Senile Dog (kidneys–I’m waiting on more test results), and he’ll fill me in on the rapidly declining health of his Big Senile Dog, and then I’ll read him the next couple of chapters in Astonishing–it’s become our irregular routine.

You’re welcome to join us.  I’m thinking basic pasta tonight.  I make a mean puttanesca sauce–no anchovies.  If you don’t like it, I can order a pizza.  If you don’t like pizza, well.  Maybe Art Child will share her Easter chocolate.

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Don’t Make Me Laugh

Seriously, it hurts.  But I couldn’t stop myself from laughing a few times this morning.  This is what I woke up to.

Feel like baking this morning?

Feel like baking this morning?

The other night I made banana pancakes for dinner.  Well actually, I made the batter and got them started, and then had Nerd Child make the majority, because I couldn’t stand upright to flip them.  I also couldn’t reach to put the ingredients away, and haven’t paid enough attention to notice said ingredients were still on the counter.

Dumb freakin dogs.  Why?  I swear I feed those bozos every day, twice a day, and then they get treats multiple times per day in addition.  5:15 in the morning, I could barely walk, there was no way I could bend to sweep and wash the floors.  And by no way, I mean physically no way. Over the years I’ve noticed the severity of many illnesses and injuries are contextual.  In other words, if I had options, I’d have said I physically couldn’t get Flower Child to/from school the last couple of days.  But there’s no choice, so in fact, I could and have done it, albeit slowly and painfully.  But this?  Even the thought of attracting roaches couldn’t get me to bend and stretch in the ways necessary to clean this up.  Luckily Husband woke up when he heard me cursing, and got most of it.

Big Senile Dog went to his bed and kept his eyes away from mine, pretending he had nothing to do with it.  Mmm hmm.

Who me?  This isn't flour, it's umm, coke, yeah, it's coke.  The pugs down the hall threw this party and...

Who me? This isn’t flour, it’s umm, coke, yeah, it’s coke. The pugs down the hall threw this party and…

Ok.  Now I’m on the couch, feet up and coffee in hand.  Open my email and find a rejection for a query.  Not just any rejection, but one that was so nice, personal, and friendly, I thought it was a request.  Took me two times reading it through to realize it was, in fact, a rejection.  I don’t think I’ve ever met this agent, it isn’t likely I wouldn’t remember, but maybe I have, the note seemed that friendly.  Or maybe he follows Mrs Fringe.

I don’t know why it struck me as funny, but it did.  Maybe it’s part of always being braced for “the worst,” as I go through the query process.  Silly, because I have never experienced “the worst.”  No one has ever responded to a query of mine in a way that was rude, disparaging, or questioned my abilities.  And while I haven’t received any offers (yet!), I’m doing pretty well in terms of requests for more material.

This was turning out to be a banner day, and it wasn’t even 6am.  Sometimes you really do have to laugh.

An hour later, Flower Child is awake and getting ready.  And continuing a running conversation.  The one where she tells me bits and pieces of her interactions at school.  I’m continuing to pretend it’s possible to get socks on without bending.

“And you know what else he asked me.”

“Hmm, what did he ask you?”

“Is it true that white people don’t get cold?  Why did he ask me that, what should I tell him?”

See what I mean about the universe conspiring, and having to laugh?

(Wo)Man Makes Plans

and God laughs.  That’s the expression, right?  I’m making plans anyway.  Well, I’m thinking about making plans, and we’ll see what happens.  There’s only so many days I can walk around sniveling before I can’t stand myself anymore.

Even Little Incredibly Dumb Dog looks bummed, and she truly is too dumb to be depressed.  ;)

Even Little Incredibly Dumb Dog looks bummed, and she truly is too dumb to be depressed. 😉

Several years ago it occurred to me that people need stuff to look forward to.  This is a problem when you’re stuck in the endless grind of life on the Fringe.  I came home from taking Flower Child to school yesterday morning to find that Big Senile Dog had gone out to the terrace while I was gone–my fault, I shouldn’t have left that door open–and torn into a bag of garbage that was left out there.  Yanno, so they wouldn’t make a mess while I was out.  Once upon a time he would have eaten everything in there, pistachio shells, tea leaves, and coffee grounds, while Little Incredibly Dumb Dog took care of the tissues and tea bags.  She did eat all of the paper stuff, but.  By now even he knows he can’t eat that stuff, so instead, all that crud was ground into and under the rubber flooring stuff I have down to protect the concrete.  Fantastic.

No shame.

No shame.

There I was, thinking about nothing to look forward to and how many years it’s been since I really had a day off.  If you’re curious, it’s almost 19 years.  Man Child will be 21 in a couple of weeks.  Husband and I went to Aruba for a long weekend when MC was 2.  21 years since I had a day off *to myself.*  And then I was thinking about submissions, querying, and Astonishing.  The unpredictable nature of this business I’m trying to get myself into.  Well, what can I realistically do about all of this?  What is/can be within my control?  Two plans conceived.

First, today is a #MSWL day on twitter.  That’s when certain agents and editors post their “manuscript wish lists” under the hashtag MSWL, tweeting what they’d like to see come across their desks.  I’m watching, in hopes of seeing magical realism, literary fiction, dark lit fic…anything that would reasonably seem like a potential match for Astonishing, and then I will query those agents.  I hope.  A lot of the agents expected to participate seem to be more focused on Young Adult, Middle Grade, New Adult, but I’m watching.  The best part of this is no twitter pitching.  I suck at Twitter.  Seriously, I can’t quite get the hang of it.  I’d blame my age, but that’s a blatant lie.  Plenty of people my age and older who are twitter-savvy.

Second, I decided I’m going to go away for a couple of days when Big Senile Dog dies.  By myself.  No, his death isn’t imminent, but he is elderly and going.  Could be a month, six months, two years, but it gives me something to look forward to and a chance to save my pennies.  No, I can’t do this before he dies.  The logistics of getting him and Little Incredibly Dumb Dog walked and taken care of, Flower Child taken care of, too much/too expensive.  I mentioned this to Husband last night, I think he was horrified by my cold and calculated look at the future.  The big non-secret is that he adores this dog he didn’t want more than any of us.  Not enough to walk him, but adores him nonetheless.

For today, I’m going to watch the Twitter feed and create a playlist for my little eventual trip.  That’s the plan, anyway.

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Dumb Dogs

Innocent, I tell ya--and dumber than a box of rocks.

Innocent, I tell ya–and dumber than a box of rocks.

Everyone talks about how smart dogs are.  I don’t get it, and I’m a dog lover.  I know, I know, your dog is brilliant, it’s just my dog.  I’ve had multiple dogs over the years, and between friends’ dogs and dog walking, have known many, many others very well.  Mixed breeds, “designer” breeds (aka mutts), rescue dogs, purebreds.

I think my understanding of “smart” is too limited, I only comprehend it as it applies to people.  And as intelligence is applied to people, dogs aren’t very smart.  They’re cute, loving, protective, smooshable, eager to please, but not intelligent.

Some dogs care a lot about pleasing their owners, keeping us happy.  These are often the dogs considered the smartest, because they learn the most commands.  Then there are the food motivated dogs, who will do anything in the hopes of a treat.  Food motivated dogs are also among the dumbest, because they will eat anything that could be food, once held food, might once have sat in the same garbage bag as food.

Yesterday I was walking a dog, and we stopped for a light.  Dog starts rooting in a snowbank.  Fine, lots of dogs have fun with the snow, like to roll in it, burrow their snouts in it, eat it.  The light changes, we cross the street.  Get to the other side, and I notice the dog has something out of his mouth.  Hmmm. I pay attention, especially if I know the dog is one likely to eat stuff off of the street, but it does occasionally happen.  Is that his collar, did it come off?  No, collar is still on.  My general rule of thumb is not to stick my hand into any dog’s mouth if it isn’t my dog.  Dogs really don’t like it when you stick your hand in their mouth.  I don’t care how friendly the dog is.  If he/she thinks you’re trying to pull a tasty prize out of their mouth, they’re likely to bite.  Because they’re dogs.  I’m paid to pick up dog shit and give the dog some exercise, some company and petting, maybe food and water, not offer myself as a chew toy.

I determine this thing hanging from the dog’s mouth is definitely a strap of some sort, with a small metal loop at the end.  Looks like the kind of thing used to attach babies’ children’s mittens.  Crap.  Can’t let the dog eat a strap.  And metal!  I tell the dog to drop it, leave it, try offering a treat instead.  No dice.  What the hell is this dog doing?  He isn’t chewing or biting, he’s…sucking.  Yes, the dog was sucking on the pacifier at the other end of the strap.  Sigh.


Pacifier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yeah, yeah, got it all away from Einstein and threw it away safely.

Then last night, Little Incredibly Dumb Dog started acting even weirder than usual.  Jumping and barking on Man Child (she’s decided he’s the one who should take care of her needs).  We see no problem, she seems ok, then curls up and goes to sleep.  Fifteen minutes later she’s squatting on the living room floor.  Umm, NO!  I pick her up and bring her to the pad.  By the second nugget the problem was apparent.

Flower Child has very, very long hair.  She doesn’t want any hairs in her brush, ever.  This leaves me finding hairs wherever she might have been when she picked up the brush.  She does try to remember to throw it away, but sometimes, well, sometimes.  Little Incredibly Dumb Dog thinks anything produced by any of our bodies is delicious.  She races to the bedroom when Flower Child wakes up each the morning, to steal those yummy used tissues out of the bag next to the bed.

So that left my little fluff ball, working hard to only semi-successfully evacuate a gut full of doggie gumbo and knitted by her intestinal tract hair.  Yes, yes, I helped her, all better now.  Emergency bath of her back end.

Tell me again how smart these beasts are.

No Dog Poop

No Dog Poop (Photo credit: Sweet One)

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Brain Freeze

We had a sizable but not crazy snowstorm again the other day.  The snow itself was wet and dense, beautiful.

IMG_0462 IMG_0471 IMG_0475 IMG_0478

oops, don't forget how slippery the steps down to the subway become.

oops, don’t forget how slippery the steps down to the subway become.

IMG_0489 IMG_0491 IMG_0493 IMG_0499 IMG_0500

All so pretty, everyone was out taking photos, talking about how the city looked like a fairy tale.

But then, Tuesday night, we got more snow.  By Wednesday morning the falling snow turned into sleet.  All freaking day.  That lovely, heavy snow became piles of slush with a thick layer of ice.

It’s great that this is a walking city, but it isn’t easy to navigate when the sewers can’t handle the amount of dirty, packed, snow and slush.  The corners and curb cuts become freezing lakes.  You think you’re stepping onto a snow pile, and then your foot sinks through a pile of icy muck and you’re shin deep.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had to navigate the streets with a stroller, and yet, every year when I see those messy corners I think about how grateful I am that I’m not trying to find the one spot you can push through–usually about halfway up the street, exactly when 5 cars are coming through.  On my way to pick up Flower Child the other day, there was a woman with a big stroller at the bottom of the stairs, getting ready to carry it up.

Ugh.  I remember those days. Not fun in the best weather, let alone when those metal steps are icy and people are crowding to get in or out of the subway as quickly as possible.  I helped her carry the stroller.  Not a big deal, not a random act of kindness, just common courtesy.  Her look of gratitude made me sad, I wish helping someone in this type of scenario was the rule, not the exception.

Yesterday I went out to walk a dog in the sleet.  The streets were so iced over it was all I could do to focus on staying upright.  Add in the super dooper hood of my parka that blocks my peripheral vision, and I wasn’t noticing anything.  Heard a thud as I walked towards a local bodega, but really, I barely noticed, just trying to get to the sidewalk before the snow plows buried me in the ever rising snowbank against the curb.  Frankly, everything was so muffled through my layers and I was concentrating so hard on not busting my ass, I’ve not sure I would know I was hit by a snow plow until I was snorting slush.

Picked up the dog, went past the bodega again, now add in trying not to fall on the ice with an overexcited dog pulling towards the park.  Drunk guy on a cell phone, “No, they’re being robbed right now.  It doesn’t matter if I’m drunk.  I’m telling you, now.  Send a car from the blahblah precinct.”  Oh, New York.

By this morning, the streets look a bit less magical.

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Oh People, Doncha Just Hate’em?


Woods (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

You know those getting to know you/riddle questions, if you were alone on a deserted island/in the woods/lost in space what food would you want/book would you bring/who would you want with you?  I hate those stupid questions.

But apparently some people love them so much, they decide to go try it.  Like this guy, who went on a survival expedition in the Canadian wilderness.  He planned to be gone for two months, just a man and his dog.  Didn’t work out so well.  When he was a month late coming home, his family alerted the authorities who found him after 8 days of searching; alive, starving, dehydrated, and alone.  Attacked by a bear, his supplies and equipment were lost/ruined.  His dog saved him from the bear.  Sadly, he ended up killing and eating his dog to stay alive.  I’m not being flippant here, it is sad, and I can only assume if there was a grove of apple trees, a field of carrots, or a stream full of fish this wouldn’t have happened.

I found out about this through a discussion in the writer’s forum.  I don’t generally get involved in those discussions, but they can be fun, informative, and a good way to get to know who’s who.

I have to tell you Fringelings, if you’re a staunch PETA supporter you might want to stop reading here.  I love my dogs, love my fish and sea critters, I’m a vegetarian and have been since I was a teenager.  In fact, I’ve sometimes wondered if I would be able to get myself any meat/fish/flesh if I was literally starving.  And yet I was shocked by the sentiment of people who not only said he shouldn’t have done it/they wouldn’t have done it, but equated it with killing and eating a human family member/loved one. Really?  You’re shitting me, right?  Well played, what a perfect troll session.

Except the conversation began to meander, as these things do, and there were multiple people insisting their pets really are equivalent to their children, and the death of a pet is as devastating as the death of a child.  No.  Just no.   And then proceeded to say it was judgmental for anyone to disagree.

The Intersection of 36th and Troll

The Intersection of 36th and Troll (Photo credit: sea turtle) 

Perhaps for a few people this might be true, but if you are a reasonably well adjusted person, no.  And I don’t care if you’re young, middle aged, or Methuselah.  No.  And if this is being judgmental, well, okay.  I’ll just confess to being a judgmental bitch right now.  And more than a bit horrified that it’s so easy to find people who don’t see a difference between a beloved pet and a beloved spouse, mother, father, child, cousin, or BFF who you’ve laughed and cried with for forty years.

I’ve been very, very sad at the loss of pets.  Cried.  Mourned.  Dogs, cat, fish, invertebrates.  For the record, fish are not disposable pets, they shouldn’t die within days/weeks/months.  Clownfish really have personalities similar to puppies, they come to the top of the tank once they get to know you, will eat out of your hand, and play.  I’ve been riveted and excited to see coral spawning in my tank, see my clownfish do the mating dance.  When the clowns then ate their eggs, I didn’t feel my world had ended.  Didn’t even lose a night’s sleep.  What a cold, cruel woman I am.

Yup, laid her eggs right on this soft leather coral.

Yup, laid her eggs right on this soft leather coral.

(sorry for the out of focus photo, but that’s the only one I could find of her in “her” leather)

But.  But, but, but.  You get a dog or cat expecting it to live 10, 15, 20 years.  Same for many fish and sea critters.  So sad when a creature you’ve loved and cared for over many years passes.  Your child?  Mmm, the natural order of things is for your child to outlive you.   (I do wonder if this makes a difference for people who keep parrots they expect to outlive them, but still, not a child.)  And, yanno, it’s your child. If you get a new fish, and that fish dies when you get it home, or can’t adjust to the new tank and refuses to eat so it dies within days, it’s sad and aggravating and you’re glad you got the fish from somewhere that offers an “arrive alive” guarantee.  Cause now you’re going to get credit, and they’ll give you/ship you a new fish.  Baby?  Not exactly.  Not even remotely.

Regular Fringelings know I have a few friends who’ve lost children to fatal diseases.  I’ve had some terrifying times with Flower Child.  I have more friends whose children face horrendous diagnoses.  I’ve been zombified at Husband’s bedside in the Cardiac ICU more than once.  I’m not special, my family isn’t special.  There are thousands of families who face these events throughout the world, every day.  Many of them have pets they love and have loved.  Not one will tell you the loss or imminent loss  of their child/spouse/sibling/other is the same as the loss of Fido.

You love your dog/cat?  That’s wonderful, me too.  Swear you wouldn’t eat him no matter that you were facing certain death otherwise?  OK, I tend to doubt that I would eat mine either.  Can’t say for certain, seeing as I’ve never been lost and starving in the wilderness and I’m unlikely to ever be.  Besides, Big Senile Dog is old and tough and scrawny.  I will admit that Little Incredibly Dumb Dog’s back legs bear more than a passing resemblance to fuzzy chicken legs when she’s wet and in the bath.  Plump, too.

Humans are animals too.  Yes, we are.  And we’re at the top of the food chain.  I intend to stay there.  Now I’m off to eat my pasta with meatless meatballs.

Pigs, Drunks, and Amy

English: Pigs and Daffodils Pig farm and Daffo...

English: Pigs and Daffodils Pig farm and Daffodil fields (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My goodness, October 1st!  I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I’ve posted.  blahblahblahlifeexcusessadnessmuckfringeblahblahblah.

I’ve come to a very important (though I’m not sure why) realization.  Little Incredibly Dumb Dog isn’t all that dumb, she’s just a pig.  The other evening I was getting ready to walk the beasts, and the little one was being a nuisance.  I dropped my sweatshirt on top of her to keep her busy while I got the leashes.

You know, that’s supposed to be the test of doggie intelligence, how long it takes them to get out from under a towel, or some equivalent.  Imagine my surprise when it took her about 1 second.  Maybe I didn’t have it completely over her.  So I dropped it again, making sure the thing was centered.  Same result.

This is the same dog that I still have to keep a pee pad in the apartment for, even though she’s over two years old now.  She’ll do great, not use the pad at all for 10 days, and then do nothing when we’re out on a walk, come in and race to her pad to pee/poop.  And still, not always remembering that it doesn’t count if only her front half is on the pad.  Very special.  Even more special is how she’ll take a treat and run to the pad to eat it.  Thus, my conclusion–she isn’t dumb, she’s just a pig.  Eleven dingy white pounds of gross.

Yes, I’m still writing.  Slowly.  Painfully.  I hit 35,000 words earlier today, which I figure puts me about halfway through the first draft.  My protagonist, Christina, is now permanently pickled.  Half time, that moment when I close the file and have a wardrobe malfunction through blogging.

The Pin-Up by Charles Dana Gibson.

The Pin-Up by Charles Dana Gibson. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do I still think Astonishing is any good?  No clue.  I’m too deep in it.  Slogging through the middle muck, trying to figure out how in the world I’m going to write her way to an ending.

So the other morning I was walking the beasts, thinking once again how much easier life would be right now if I was better at drinking.  Sadly, Mrs Fringe pretty much has a one drink a week limit.  More might sound appealing in my head, but my body doesn’t want it.  But it would be easier to put myself in Christina’s head and ride along with her downward spiral, and easier not to care when Little Incredibly Dumb Dog is rolling in another mystery puddle in the curb.  I was contemplating all of this, and then I heard a familiar voice, “Hi Amy!”

It’s a parent I used to see during drop off and pick up when Flower Child was in elementary school.  Never got to know him other than 2-5 minute chats waiting for the kids to come out or bring them in.  Nice enough guy.  Except for one thing.  My name isn’t Amy.

I don’t have any clue why he thinks it is, but he does.  For all the years I’ve been doing the parent thing, there are more parents of my kiddos’ classmates whose names I don’t know, and who don’t know my name, than who do.  I probably didn’t notice the first few times he said it.  Hey, it’s a group of parents, I’m waiting for my kid, didn’t pay that much attention.  Then I noticed, and corrected him once or twice.  Nope.  I don’t know if he didn’t hear me or has a mental block, but I decided it didn’t really matter.

I live in a fantasy fringey world of pigs and drunks, I suppose being an Amy is pretty good.  Maybe I should use Amy as a pseudonym for Astonishing.

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Shhh, Chasing Sanity

English: Hide an seek Spotted amongst the hedg...

English: Hide an seek Spotted amongst the hedgerow beside a footpath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well here we are.  Fall, again.  Nerd Child is back to school, Flower Child goes back on Monday, and Man Child is fully immersed in his year up North.  Yeah, yeah, technically the season doesn’t begin until the 21st, but I needed a jacket when I walked the beasts last night, and it isn’t much warmer this morning.

Today was my last day to sleep in.  Luckily, Big Senile Dog was on the case and woke me up early.  Just because.  Fine.  Got up, made coffee, went to sit on my terrace with my WIP, and he began barking again.  This time to let me know Little Incredibly Stupid Dog had peed all over the floor.  Out of paper towels.  FYI for the fringelings, it takes an entire box of tissues to clean up the pee of an 11 pound dog.

I’d like to say my posts have been sporadic over the past couple of months because I’ve been busy having a fabulous time and upgrading my life.  Nope.

I’d like to say posts will be more regular now that it’s back to school season in Fringeland.  Probably not.

The  WIP I’ve been talking about, Astonishing?  To work on it, I have to tap into my inner muck.  The stuff I like to stomp down and pretend isn’t there.  You know, so I get out of bed in the morning and do things like make coffee and clean up dog pee.  Despite the slow progress, I think I’ve got the bones of a good book.  Honest.  Distorted for maximum impact, wrapped up in fiction, and tied with the bow of story, of course.

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche (Photo credit: ulterior epicure)

Honest in a different way than Mrs Fringe, where I try to serve each platter of honesty spiced with enough humor to make it palatable for the amuse-bouches that equal blog reading.

Switching gears between the two is hard as hell.

When this summer began I was feeling, dare I say it? hopeful.  This was not going to be a summer of death, I was going to relax, destress, and take concrete steps to make changes in my life.  Let myself feel and plan.  What the fuck was I thinking?  I want my layer of numb back, please.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been poked by that little thing I like to call reality.   I’ve been grateful to have Astonishing.  For me, it is a refuge, my pretend world where I can take the shit that is too often life and manipulate it, tweak the character’s actions, reactions, and responses until I get a result I’m ok with.  Something satisfying.

Tricky, this.  This tapping into enough real to create honest fiction, while trying to get back a nice fat layer of numb.

Maybe tonight while I’m out at Friday Night Madness they’ll have some numb on tap.