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Bit of an update

Wow so here I was going to revitalize my LJ, and really keep on top of updating it, and then I just let it sit for another few months. Sorry about that.

Anyway so yeah. Signed with the agent I really liked, waited for the revision suggestions to come in, and then got right to work. She sent them right before we went to Florida, but I got a good chunk done before, and finished up the rest the week after we got home. The week I came home, my agent moved from Sterling Lord Literistic to Donald Maass. I think that's pretty great, actually. Well, both are great, and like I told her on the phone, I was looking for an agent more than an agency.

I tried to send my revisions four times over the last week, but my email is for some reason effed up, and I had to drop box them to her yesterday. So now she has the revised version, and for some reason I'm sweating that more than when she read the manuscript for the first time. Because, what if I made it worse? What if I did the revisions and she reads them, and they're essentially first drafts of new chapters? (Well, not chapters, but a section here and there.)

So nervewracking.

But yeah, in the meantime, we did go to Florida, too: Me, my Mom, Callum and Meghan. We stayed at Port Orleans and we didn't rush anywhere or have to do anything specific and it was super nice like that. I mean we did have some fast passes, and it does limit you to which park you're going to be at any given day. I do sort of miss the times when you could be like, “Ehh, let's go to Epcot today instead,” but if you do that now, you miss your, like, ONE CHANCE to ride that ride you want to get on.

Callum went on his first rollercoaster! It was Barnstormer and he LOVED it. Laughed the entire way through, starting from when it begins its climb to the first drop. But then again, he loved the stupid airplane, too. Giggled and shouted “WEEEEE!” through the ascension. He kept looking at me and saying, “CAM-CAM!” Like, “Look, it's ME, Cam-cam, going way up in the sky!” In fact, a few weeks ago he even told me, “Cam-cam gonna go to work.”

“Work?” I said. “You have a job now?”

“Yey-uhh. In a few months.”

“I see. And what are you going to do at your work?”

“Cam-cam going to drive the airplane.”

Not even two and a half and he wants to be a pilot. He woke up this morning and said to me, first thing, “Cam-cam on the airplane. Way high up up up in the sky!” Which I guess means that he's still dreaming about it. So weird, toddler brains.

But yeah, he went on Barnstormer and he loved it. He loved all the rides, even the Haunted Mansion, and the parade, (“Woooow Mommy-and-Grammom-and-Momo, wook at DIS!”) but was less than thrilled with the characters. Which, I'm not too wild about those, either.

It also rained and stormed every day. In fact we got stuck in tropical Storm Erika's path, and our landing when we came in was delayed for like 3 hours. We had to circle Orlando forever before they decided to land us in Tampa, and then take off again to go to Orlando. That was the beginning of The Trip Of Wait, because every single day another thing went wrong where we got held up doing this or that. They even had us in the wrong hotel room when we got there. :/

But even with all of that, it was still such an excellent trip. So now we're actually thinking about going in on a Disney Vacation Club kind of dealie thing. You pay monthly for 5-10 years, and you get allotted a certain amount of points per year, and you can use them to stay in the villas. You also get discounts on annual tickets and dining. Getting it via resale saves thousands of dollars. And like, I know, those thousands of dollars we'd still be spending could be going in the bank, but honestly, now that I have a kid, I can't see just saying “Well, we're not going to Disneyworld anymore.” We're all pretty much going to keep going. Like, Meghan is 23 and Spencer is 26 and they've been going since they were 2, and they're also not going to stop. Same with Chrissie and Timmy and the kids. And every few years, you save up enough points to use a big villa where the entire family can stay; sleeps up to 12 or something. IDK, I'm thinking about it.

Well, tomorrow is Autumn, and I have to say, it's been such a beautiful summer that I'm anxious thinking that something has got to go wrong. (Well, to be fair, Sano and Haku got mad sick from their food, starting the day before we left for Disney. Tons of meds later and they are both fine, though the food wrecked their delicate intestines so much that they are on Tylan powder for life now.) I mean yes, something always goes wrong and nothing is ever perfect, but sometimes it feels so perfect that I'm like, What's going to happen to balance this out? Every week this summer we went to the ocean. I have this awesome little kid and an awesome literary agent and a job I enjoy. Isn't that just too much good?

But yeah, Autumn, though. Every year I'm always so sad when summer ends, but then I love Autumn, too. It's really just winter I can't deal with. Well, really just January and February, and that's only because we've gotten killed the last three years, with blizzards upon blizzards. I can't even deal with that. And having to stay in the house at night instead of going on a long walk and then sitting on the deck, enjoying the last rays of sun until 8 PM. God, winter is so hard! Ugh.

Here are some things I:m looking forward to:

Getting the next round of revisions done and going on submission. Rad.

Teaching some Hula classes at work. In Florida, I spent some time with Auntie Kau'i and she was like, “Are you dancing and teaching?” I told her it had been a while and she said, “You have to get back to it. Start over and don't stop again.” And I really, really want to, but it's so hard to find a space where you can just get a group of people together and dance. Now I have that opportunity at work and I can't wait to start.

Halloween, naturally. And the holiday season after that. I'm one of those fools who really loves the stupid holidays. All the lights and music and crap. I can't get enough of that.

Umm, and new TV shows. Isn't that awful and so dull of me? But I really like Sleepy Hollow.

And after that, next Spring, LOL. Winter is just long, dark, boring, depressing and pointless. And frigging cold and frustrating and icy.

Hmm, I don't want to speculate on anything else. In 2008 I cheerfully wrote in my LJ, “I wonder what will happen this year, and how much will be different next year!” And in 2009 my Gran and my Dad both died. Which I know has nothing to do with how I effing phrased things for pete's sake but anxiety is a bitchass!

Well, now I've still got about 45 minutes left of Callum's nap, so I'm going to sit down and read the new version of [Bad username: spatterdash] 's wonderful novel.

And then wake Callum, take the dogs out, and IDK, go out for pizza. Maybe a walk later with Callum, Mom, Momo, Chrissie and her boys. (Oh wait no, I tell a lie, Momo gets home late tonight. Walk tomorrow then, when she's off from school.) And perhaps a bar of ice cream later.

This summer has been one of the best ever, and I'm going to miss it. Here's to an Autumn that's just as rad.

The OTHER call, or: How I Got My Agent

I've really been meaning to write down the story of How I Got My Agent since the day I signed the contract with Caitlin McDonald of Sterling Lord (July 16th) but then, every time I get my 90 minutes of the day, I've been writing other stuff. (The new manuscript, the one that [Bad username: spatterdash] is eyeballing as I'm writing it, to be specific. The working title as of now is “2 Blue Balls.”) And then I was gonna write it all out last night, but then all sorts of craziness happened in the neighborhood as I wrote in a locked post and it got me all mentally turned around and weirded out.

But anyway. So! Now that I've signed, I'll unlock my other posts (or at least some of them,) about the first offer, the one I eventually declined.

What happened was—for anyone who doesn't know how this goes down—I got an email from one agent, saying she'd like to talk about my work. Usually—not always, but usually—this means that an offer is coming. We had a really great phone conversation on July 2nd, and she did make an offer. I figured that was it, done deal. All that remained was to send a “nudge” to other agents who had my queries, partials or manuscripts, tell them I'd had an offer and give them a chance to jump in. Most of the time, the other agents say “thank you and good luck.”

And I didn't have many outstanding queries, tbh, because I'd been spending most of my time working on 2 Blue Balls. But, I did have a query out with my top-choice agent. I'd actually queried her last year, but we'd talked on Tumblr since then and I had asked if I could re-query her after some edits, and she'd said yes.

To my utter pants-peeing surprise, she really liked the edits, and asked if she could take the standard two weeks to look through the entire manuscript. Pee in a dazzle, I sent her the full. Again, I'd read that agents are usually “reading for a no” after a nudge. But I still had the sneaky suspicion that she might actually like it.

Two days before my deadline to sign with the first agent, (July 16th,) she made an offer via email, and said we could set up a time to have a phone conversation.

July 15th was HOT AS A DAMN CROTCH, which, I usually just breeze through days like that because I absolutely love the heat. But I was on the phone with Caitlin from just after 2 till around 3 or so, and by the end of it, I was sweating so much that I had to go change all my clothes, LOL. I just liked her so much, loved her ideas, loved what she was talking about in terms of edits, and it all made so much sense that I didn't want to say the wrong thing, stutter too much (I do, a little, in situations like these,) or ask the wrong thing or forget to ask any of the right things. She was very understanding and patient as I went through my list of questions.

I liked both agents, particularly because both of them are very pro-fandom, and both were all right with me having been really involved in fandoms and still having fanfics up around the web. I liked both agents because they both really loved my manuscript and were enthusiastic about it.

The deciding factors were a few, though: The first agent, though she personally really loved time-travel stories and loved my manuscript, also didn't think she could sell a time-travel as a debut novel. She wanted me to finish 2 Blue Balls (you know that's LOL right? Like I'm not actually going to call it 2 Blue Balls*) and we would pitch that one to editors first. Which, I would have been all right with that to a point, because my brain is filled with 2 Blue Balls right now and I could probably bang the rest of it out pretty quickly if I had to.

But Caitlin has confidence in Blueshift; she really got the idea that time travel was sort of secondary to the plot and that there were other things going on in it: concepts about reality and such. She said she really loved the way I wrote the science, which is like, WHOA, the coolest thing a SF writer can hear. And she loved my main character, which also whoa – boy, do we writers enjoy hearing that.

What's more, she pinpointed exactly the two scenes I'd always, always struggled with, and put her finger on why they didn't work. That cleared up so much for me, you don't even know. These are edits I can now handle really easily.

We talked about fandom and fanfic for a while, too; she is extremely cool with all of that. And we also discussed other things I might write later, down the road. I mentioned I had another manuscript in the works, but that I'd also had scads of work done on sequels already, and she said, “I was almost feeling a prequel” and I was like, “OMG I HAVE THAT TOO.” In mind, I mean. Sketched out. When I say that this book has been with me for about ten years, I don't mean just this book; I mean I've been dicking around in the world of this book for about ten years. I've got about 500K words in sequels, prequels, side-stories, junk I wrote for fun, and you know, I never really did anything with that stuff. It's just sitting there in a folder, waiting for me to think about what to do with it.

Another big deciding factor was that I talked to one of her clients, one who is actually in the middle of her book launch, and she had such wonderful things to say about Caitlin. She said, “You won't ever regret signing with her.”

That filled me with such confidence; I knew as I talked to her that I'd already kind of made my choice.

So, on July 16th, Caitlin sent me the 3 contracts to sign, and then sent me her signed contract as well. And as of last week, I'm repped by Caitlin McDonald of the—let's be honest here--historic Sterling Lord Literistic agency.

What's next? She re-reads the manuscript and takes notes. Then, sometime in August or so, she sends me her notes, which are going to be her ideas for revisions. I'm pretty certain that I'm going to agree with her edits, because of the way she totally nailed what had always bugged me about those two scenes in particular. Then, I revise, and send it back to her (also including some of my own edits we discussed.) Then we discuss those changes, and if we both think they're fine, we move onto line-edits, which is another thing that I'm pretty chill about.

Once we're both happy with those final edits, then the book goes out on submission, and we start to discuss what I'm writing next, as we wait for someone to hopefully pick it up.

I haven't thought much beyond that. She did mention some editors and publishing houses she had in mind, which were SO RAD, but I'm nowhere near there yet.

So in the meantime, I'm just going to keep working on 2 Blue Balls and see where that takes me. That one might end up sitting around for a while, depending on where Blueshift goes from here.

All I know for sure is that I am SUUUUPER happy with my choice. I feel so lucky! And I'm really excited, and I just wanna WRITE ALL THE WRITES

*I might call it 2 Blue Balls tbh.

THE CALL (and how it went down)

Today is July 4th, and I took the dogs to the beach, set up the pool filter (again) and tried to see to it that it'd be swim-ready at some point before September. (Even though it's like, 60 degrees today.) My Mom is off from work today too (it's a Saturday; I usually work mornings / afternoon, but we're closed for the day.) Callum picked some peppers from his garden and basically walked all around while I cut back bittersweet and such. Haku came outside, but Sano heard fireworks and just cowered by the door until I let him back in.

La la. But it's really July 2nd that I want to talk about, because that's the day I got THE CALL and I want to write all of that down!

So, we set the time to chat at 2:30, and of course I sat there pissing myself until that very second, when she called at 2:30 on the nose. I told her up front I was nervous on the phone and she said that was all right. I was like, “Haha nice day today, haha *sweatdrop* what lovely... weather and all, haha... hahaha...”

With The Call (always in caps like that, seriously,) sometimes it's an offer of rep, and other times it's “I like this and that aspect, but can you edit it hugely and send it to me when it's done, so I can consider it further?” and sometimes, “I like your style, do you have a different book I can look at, and you can email me when it's done and I can consider that one?” So I was pretty unsure where this was going.

She asked, “Do you want me to just launch into my thoughts on Blueshift?” and I said, “Please do.” She said, “First of all, I am really into time travel...” (“Oh, cool! Me too haha, haha, hahaha!”) “And more importantly, I love this book.” (“Oh! Wow! Thank you so much, hahaha, hahaha!”) “I really liked the world you built.” (Silent relief; I've alternately heard “too much world-building” and “the world is too vague” from other agents. This stuff is truly subjective.) “The beginning could use some tightening up; it's rambly here and there, a few scenes don't seem to have much of a purpose on the first read. I understood their meaning after I finished it, though. But it could still use some tightening, close a few loose ends, things like that.” (“I can totally do that.”) “There were no entire chapters that I would cut – just minor things.” (More silent relief.) “The ending was my absolute favorite part. That's when I really couldn't put it down.”

Which surprised me, and totally delighted me, because I have always LOVED my ending, but have been told that it's too open-ended, and you can't leave it like that because people want definite answers, and / or you have to have a happy ending. I was really pleased that she was into that. She said she loved the entire second half.

“Make those two lead characters hotter for each other in the beginning, though. I wasn't buying their relationship until close to the end. I felt like they were more like best friends, or just loved each other as people. It needs more heat and passion.” (“I can do that, for sure.”) (This also clued me in to how astute of a reader she is, because in fact, in the first draft, the two characters were related and she completely picked up on that. I was like, “Damn, she is good.”)

I asked her if she had thought of any editors or publishers while she was reading it, and she gave me the names of two editors she had considered, who are also into this sort of thing.

Then she said, “I do really like the book—I would not be on the phone with you right now if I didn't—but time travel stories don't do well as first-releases, so I also wanted to talk to you about anything else you might have?”

So I told her about the one I did for NaNo, which is an extreme first draft right now, and although it has a beginning, middle and end, and a plot, with characters, and subplots, but that I hated the ending, had left two characters sort of blank so far, and had to completely re-draft it. I had written down my short pitch for that book, too, which I had planned to read: “Blue Sphere (working title): a medical examiner, her physicist associate, and her psychic best friend survive a neurological epidemic and invent a machine that can hold a person's consciousness after death. With the help of a disillusioned cop, they have to escape the corporation who are willing to murder them to get their hands on the machine. “

But it sounded so clunky as I started to read it that I just sort of wandered from it. “This medical examiner and this physicist, these two women—I haven't really fleshed out one of them yet—they invent this machine out of synthetic neurons” etc. I went a little more into the plot than just that little blurb thing up there.

And she said, “That's what I want. I want the lady scientists. Here's my idea: Let's finish that, and pitch that one, first.”

(Thank flipping GOD I wrote that book, god damn!)

Me: “Yeah! Sure. That's cool. I have that one on my mind, actually, so I can dive right back into it. I have a really great critique partner. She does not hold back at all. She tells me the absolute truth about her thoughts, and she's an excellent writer; she has an agent of her own, in fact, and a book out on submission.” (“That's what you want in a critique partner,” she said. "Keep her.")

So by this point, I was thinking it all sounded good, but I wasn't entirely sure if this was going to be a “get back to me when you finish it” kind of thing.

But then she said, “Just to be clear, this is absolutely an offer of representation.”

Me: *voids bowels* “Oh! Yay! I'm so excited, hahaha, how wonderful!” (I actually said “yay.” >_< )

She went on to say that she is really excited about both books, but really wants to lead with the “lady scientists” one. (“After that one comes out, then it will open the doors for the time travel one.” I liked that “after it comes out” part, like, a lot. Made me feel really confident in that.)

She is an editorial agent, so she said that she would be more than happy to offer critiques as I wrote it, once I was comfortable with sending it to her. She said she understood that a lot of authors were protective of their first drafts. I said that I wasn't protective of it, exactly, but that, let me be clear: it's just not good right now. I explained that it was a NaNo, that it was a sprawling mess at over 100K words (“I like a first draft to be too big rather than too small,” she said,) and I was scrapping the ending and re-writing the last 4 chapters or so from scratch.

She said, “That's okay. I'll wait for that one. I'm not offering to rep just one book, like, Blueshift or nothing, and that's it. I'm offering to represent you as a career author.”

So, there was no, “get back to me when you're done” or anything. It was an actual offer, like, “let me send you the contract in case you have any questions” offer.

My deadline to accept is July 16th. I've sent out my “nudge with offer of rep” to other agents who have queries, partials and suchlike. You sort of have to wait for them to get back to you before diving into anything like this – it's only polite. But I really, really liked what she had to say. I am so stoked that she loves Blueshift because the truth is, so do I. I love that stupid book. I had a blast writing it. I think other people should read it. ^_^ I loved the ideas that she had and I was so stoked that she was into the “lady scientists” book. So it really looks like I'm going to sign that contract on the 16th.

I hope it's not bad luck or bad form to share this. It links to my FB, but I mean, my FB is private, so. So I hope this isn't jinxing anything. I am just so, super excited and I wanted to put this all down.

And now! Once Callum wakes up, then I'm going have a shower and go over to Chrissie's house for dinner, so the kids can play together for a bit and she, Mom and I can chat away.

I need to stop worrying about what can go wrong, and start being happy with what is going right! For once, I'm going to do that!

ADDENDUM: I also told her, full disclosure, hey, I was a pretty prolific and semi-well known fanfic writer across various fandoms. She asked, "Oh, which ones!" and as I was listing them and got to Final Fantasy, she was like, "OH WOW, I probably read those!" She said it was perfectly all right to have fanfic still out there, that as long as I was comfy with it, so was she and so was the agency. (This agency is extremely pro-fandom. So yay!)


The Call and other things

Two days ago I wrote this really loooooong post about how I was so frustrated with querying and writing new stuff, that I was about ready to just give it up and go back to writing fanfic for good. Why bother, if I wasn't getting anywhere and never getting any better? The post was full of angst and this really hopeless self-doubt about my writing. I read it back and thought, Wow, that is super angsty, hold back on posting that so you don't flounce out of something and then change your mind and feel stupid later.

Yesterday I got an email from the latest agent I queried, to whom I had sent first a partial, then the full manuscript. She is really interested, and wants to talk to me about the novel, and anything else I have lined up for the future. Our call is set for 2:30 tomorrow afternoon.


So now it's my turn to tell other authors to not give up/ :)

Of course, you know, it might not work out. Maybe we'll talk on the phone and have completely opposite visions about what to do with this book, or different ideas about my career or writing in general, or maybe we won't click. But, I did get referred to her by another agent, one whom I like very much and she thought we'd be a good fit. So, I'm hopeful.

I mean, hell, I'm way more than hopeful right now; I'm peeing my brand new Target shorts as we speak, have been peeing since last night and will not stop peeing, IDK, probably ever. The Call, you know? It's kind of huge! It gets capital letters when writers talk about it.

So now I'm writing down a list of questions and things to say. If I like her a lot and she likes me, then I'll have to email other agents who have partials (and who have queries, too? I'm not sure?) with a nudge, tell them, Hey, I've had an offer, JSYK. It's the polite thing to do. I have massive phone anxiety, especially with important calls. I stutter and say really dumb things sometimes (and then freak out about the things I said sometimes years later.) So having a list will help; a little cheat-sheet.

And like, work has picked up and we got some good news about a kind of partnership (sub-letting) that I think is going to go really nicely. I might start teaching classes again soon, and hopefully Hula, which will just be even radder.

Gonna try to hit the beach tomorrow.

Going to Disney in about 7 weeks.

Am I going to be this lady sitting by the seaside on a beautiful day, an agented author with a beautiful little son, a nice job, and getting ready to go on vacation? What's next, Tom Hardy is going to come and marry me?

This makes me worried. Doesn't it seem too good? Doesn't something have to go terribly awry now?

(Okay yeah, not all perf, I did lose my car insurance because TWO FENDER BENDERS IN TWO YEARS OMG and because I got side-swiped and made a rather large claim last year. So that's an annoyance and, yeah, a huge chunk out of my finances. And yeah, I wish my Gram and my Dad were here for this, and that's never going to change.)

But cherophobia is stupid, so I'm also going to sit here and worry about what simply must go wrong now, instead of enjoying what isn't wrong. And what could potentially be totally right. Isn't that awful of me? Stop it, anxiety. Stop being a thing.

Oh my god, how did it get to be 3:30? It was just 2:30 a second ago. Better post this and run.


They are remaking FFVII! I mean, you know, I've actually made posts like this before (“ARE THEY? THEY ARE HINTING...!”) but it's always been like, another stupid sequel or side-game or dumb commercial or thing with Gagkt/Genesis in it. But this time it is for real and I HAVE LOST ALL MY CHILL.

WITNESS MY ANCIENT LOVE FOR THIS GAME. (And witness me totally whitewashing Sephiroth and even the Turks to a point, LOL. I'm kinda over it? Maybe?)

By the time the game comes out, shoot, my son will be old enough to understand that Mommy is excited over a game. He might even be in school. O_O (Leaving me with some time during the day to play it. :D ) It's so weird, the way that turns out.

Umm. I can't think of anything aside from FFVII today.

Haku had a seizure this morning, though. So that is uncool.
My either/or for most of last month (and all of this month so far) is either write in journal / do anything else OR do manuscript critiques with my good friend [Bad username: spatterdash]. And the critique trades have been SO STUPID MUCH FUN that I've just gotten so involved in them. Can't stop won't stop. (Fun fact, I still think of “spatterdash” as “d_r_o_n_e”.) This is the most fun I've ever had trading crits. It makes a big difference when it's something you look forward to—reading the other person's work, as well as getting feedback on your own—instead of dreading it.

But I should write a few things down, too, like about this past few weeks in general.

It seems like so many of my close friends are having massive anxiety / bouts of depression lately, all at once. And this kinda includes me, too, with the anxiety. Some of the things I can laugh about (like the other day, I read something about how the shape of certain toddler's heads can cause intra cranial pressure and brain damage and I FLIPPED OUT, went nuts for a few days, called the doctor, the whole shebang, doc told me to basically chill,) and other things are really sticking with me, like the way that Medicare only lets women over 65 get one checkup EVERY TWO YEARS WTF, and how dangerous that is? Major issue sticking to the inside of my skull right now!

Here's a thing that pissed me off and worried me, too. So last week, a friend of mine wrote a post about how important it is to keep your cats indoors for various reasons. I totally agreed, seeing as how I, at the time anyway, had a tiny baby oriole who'd been attacked by a cat. (Oriole—which Callum named Siba—later died. :( ) And also because cats take dumps in my yard, I don't want cat turds in my garden, and dogs eat the poop, which, you know, makes them very ill. This happened to a good friend of mine recently.

So then another gal comes along, and I've been sort of HitRECord friends with her for about five years. Not super close, but like, we used to chat all the time in TinyChat, on Facebook, whatnot. So, she comes along and replies that she keeps her cats indoors, but not because she cares about the stupid birds or my gross f'n dogs, like why would she care if my stupid dogs or some dumb birds died?

And now I'm like... Wow? How do you say that about someone's dogs, right? I know a lot of people don't take pets, or pet-owners seriously. I get that to a lot of people we're considered a little flakey or whatever. There's lots of stuff I don't particularly care about, but I wouldn't say that to people I knew who did care.

So I felt like something else was up, and I messaged her like, Dude, wht the hell? Why would you say a thing like that? Is something wrong? Because I totally thought we were okay. I always made nice comments on your art, the pics you post of your cats, have always supported you on hR, and, you know, sort of pathetically, I thought we were kind of friends?

And she wrote back, “I don't owe you anything just because you liked a few of my things, THAT'S NOT HOW I ROLL, so just unfriend me or whatever.”

And I say, “Well, I've always felt that the only thing you owe someone who is kind to you, is kindness in return. That's how I roll, so, you know. And I have to say, I will miss our chats, if that's how it's to be, because I always did like you.”

And do you know what she replied? “You are honestly no loss to me.”

Okay, what the hell with that? And let me say that this is TOTALLY out of the blue. And logically, I'm going, “Well, obviously, she is an asshole of gigantic proportions, so let it go.” But the irrational part of me is going, Did I miss an episode or something? Was I evil to her in a way that I didn't realize? And then I start freaking out, thinking, do OTHER people feel that way, too? Do all of my other friends kind of secretly dislike me, or just put up with me or something? Who is gonna do that next? Someone I'd really super hate to lose?

This kind of stuff doesn't end after high school, you know? Goes on and on well into adulthood and comes from the most surprising places.

But anyway. So I'm trying not to dwell on that too much. I mean, I know whatever is up is her problem and totally not mine anymore, I'm just stuck thinking about, “But what if everyone else...?”

Aside from that. Yeah, so I had that oriole, who was a little beauty but didn't survive, and I also have a little baby crow, who Callum named Matu. A really good little crow.

Callum named them Siba and Matu because lately he's been making up his own words and using them in songs, and then dancing along when he sings them. “Siba, mati, matu, YAY!” “Siba, mingo, mango, mingi, YAY!” And he does these moves like the Maori Haka, which he's never seen, so what even.

He actually did something hilARious last night, had me in tears laughing, but it's TMI and I would hate to put that out there but OMG. So funny.

Callum is really into birds in general, as I think I've mentioned. (How could he not be?) But now, aside from knowing all the kinds of birds in the yard, and all their calls, he also knows their babies' calls. “Mahh mahh beebee grack-ow. Ree ree beebee stee-ling!”

And today, he actually told me the story of what happened to him in the morning: “Gram-gram work. Things to do. Guy-guy Gram gram! Wah-hah-hah. Cam-cam blue truck, fire truck, yay! Guy-guy truck! Wah-hah-hah. Gram-gram cookie. Thankee gram-gram. Wah-hah-hah!” Which basically means: “we went to visit Grandma at work, but she had things to do so we said bye-bye, and I LOST MY CRAP IN THE STORE BECAUSE I WANT GRANDMA. Then I played with some cars and trucks in the store, and I had to stop doing that, too, so I FLIPPED OUT CRYING. Then we saw Grandma again and she gave me a cookie, which I had to stop eating once I got in the car, so I CRIED THE REST OF THE WAY HOME.”

And he's actually awake now, which is like fifteen minutes too early for him to be awake from his nap. And I didn't even get to check Tumblr one last time. But I did send out my email/story section to Spatterdash, so that's a huge achievement for a day like today. :)

STFU, me.

Okay, one less stressy thing down. I got my test results back from the doc and they said everything is great. (Well, I still do need glasses though, boo.)

There's that cherophobia thing though, where now I'm like, “BUT! It's times like THIS, when you think everything is peachy, that the worst things happen!” STFU, me.

I just wanted to make a note of this. And now I have to get to writing and some beta-ing. ^_^


Birthdays and beach days

Callum's birthday was another gorgeous day, even if it started out dreary and pouring. It cleared up by around noon. I invited everyone over from 11-11:30. Jeremy and his Mom got there around 11:30, others around noon, and Meghan closer to 1. By then the sun was shining, and we went outside for lunch, cake and presents. Callum was just happy that Meghan was there, LOL. She's “Momo” to him and once she's in the door, nothing else matters.

He straight up loved all of his gifts. It was neat, this year, because he's old enough to understand things, and have things he likes and is really into. Today he went through all of his new toys and clothes, and was still interested in all of them. When I asked him who gave them to him, his answer was “Momo” for everything.

Callum and mason both had to have naps in the afternoon, but Spence, Natasha, and Meg stayed around, and Gavin also stayed to play Skyward Sword. After naps, everyone came back, and then Uncle Don and Jen came for dinner. Spence and Natasha made mashed potatoes – like, actually boiled and mashed and seasoned the whole thing. They are great. :)

And then, of course, Callum was so wired after everyone left, and still wanted to play. He wouldn't sleep until around 9:30.

Today is just gorgeous! About 80 degrees, I think! We had originally planned a walk to the beach with Chrissie and her two boys, but Gavin didn't feel up to going out. So I took Callum to the bay. He couldn't wait to get into the water. Literally couldn't wait; like, went in before I could take his socks off. (I expected it to be chilly at the beach, hence the socks, but nope.) He walked right in with his crocs and socks. Eventually I got them off and let him wade into the waves. He was picking up those jingle shells and throwing them on, so I started to sing Pearly Shells in Hawaiian, which is what I always do when we're at the beach.

As I'm singing, this couple walks by and the woman stops and goes, “Are you singing in Hawaiian?” I told her I was, and she said she had grown up in Hawaii, but had moved her when she got married. She said, “If you ever hear Hawaiian music in the neighborhood, it's from my house!” I laughed and told her we always had it playing, too, because I'm a Hula dancer. She asked if I was Hawaiian and I said, no, but my son is. She said, “He's a little Hapa boy!” Then we talked about Hawaiian bands and such, when they came to play in NY and all.

I mean how neat is it to meet someone who grew up in HI, out here on the beach on Long Island? That's pretty funny.

It actually just inspired me to go look up jingle shell art ideas on Etsy, because I have thousands of those suckers. Yeah, like I have time to do anything like that. ha. I also just found someone on Etsy who sells just straight up jingle shells. Err, okay, wow. Maybe I should do that, too. Huh.

Okay, so now I've sat here rambling and effing off on Etsy for long enough. Should get the laundry done while Callum is still taking a nap.


spring and garden kinda stuff

So the day starts off at 7:15 with Haku having a seizure. Of course, the one time Callum sleeps till the alarm goes off, Haku has to be up at 7:15. I kinda knew he could have one, because I ended up putting stupid Advantix on him, which is a neurotoxin. I hate using it and I only do it for like, three months of the year, when ticks are bad. But I did find a deer tick on ME the other day. And I had tick repellent on, too. Let me tell you. Flipping OUT. That is so unfair. And a deer tick, too, not just a regular old stupid dog tick.

I know he has the seizures and then he's fine after a long walk around the yard and his medicine, but it still never gets any easier to watch when he has them. It's just not fun.

But, aside from that. I'm happy to say that it's been about 75 degrees this whole week during they day, even getting up to 80. I had a feeling we were going to skip Spring and go straight on into Summer, so I wish there had been a few 50s and 60s in there for a month or so, you know, like in April. But April was all 20s to 40s. :/

But a hot day makes me want to get out there and do things, so that's what we've been doing.

The washer and dryer finally up and quit after about, what 20 years? So I went to PC Richards to pick out a new set, but they have to install a 220, blah blah, washer came today, dryer tomorrow etc. Callum had a total freak-out in the store when we had to leave without buying “ten bacuum.” (There were seven. We left without any of them.) He's been a little off the last two days, like really cranky and tired. Yesterday he was better than the day before, and today pretty much his normal self. He's never had a meltdown in a store before so I was like “whaaaaaat?”

So anyway, I didn't exactly expect the washer today, but I was, fortunately, home in time for them to come set it up. The whole thing took about twenty minutes. I am legitimately bummed out that I neglected to say “farewell” to the old washer. I was just in a giant rush because, wait, back up--

So I was awake mad early, and took the dogs out. As I think I mentioned, I've been trying to trap that bird-killing, yard-pooping, asshole cat that comes in the yard. So far I've caught a possum, and one raccoon three times. Stupid bastard was in the trap again this morning. Bro. Get out of the trap. Why so dumb? Then he was trying to swat me with his little garbage-paws as I was fumbling with the thing to release the door and let him go. I'm really tired of catching this raccoon.

After that little adventure, I decided to go to Home Depot to get a tomato plant or two, because the seedlings that Callum planted (well, I did it, but he helped by patting the soil and watering them,) are still too small and I want to put something out there. Turns out it is “garden week” or some nonsense which is the worst thing in the world, I mean I should not have been there. But I mean they had a sale. I accidentally plants. Not many, I mean, 4 for $10, that's not bad, and I got four. Well, six. And two hanging ones, but one is for my cousin for Mother's Day and the other is for my Mom for Mother's Day even though it's totally in Callum's garden.

As we were leaving HD with all our garden stuff, it's hot as BALLS and windy and my hair was blowing all over, and I felt something touching my face. Figured it was my hair. Until I saw my own shadow, with this big old eight-legged scrawl next to it, and holy balls the biggest spider was hanging out of my hair. A wolf spider, I think. But I'm a friend to spiders, so I pulled it off by its web and set it down. I just thought that was a little freaky though, I mean oh man, this was one big sucker and it was crawling on my face for however long.

So anyway, we got home and I put sunblock and this new kind of tick repellent on Callum and me, and we went out to plant the garden. I let Callum water it, which was kind of a mistake, since he's a toddler and decides to just up and drop the hose like, “Yeah, done here.” So of course I get soaked and he gets soaked. But the four plants got planted (I did buy two little flowers, too – not sure where to plant them yet,) and then we went inside so I could hose him down in the sink, get the sunblock and bug repellent off of him. And that's when the PC Richards truck showed up, of course.

But like I said, it was quick and easy. I'll probably spend all day tomorrow after work catching up on laundry.

The rest of the next week leading up to Callum's birthday is all kinds of stressy, with a Dr. appointment - just an annual, but also I need a prescription for a mattress without chemicals in it, I mean I just want to buy one because I want one for Callum, but you need a prescription to order one, I wish I was kidding,) and blah blah. I just hate going to the doctor, is all. I guess everyone does.

Callum's birthday was so excellent last year, the weather, the company, his own happiness – I hope it can be just as nice this year. And of course there will be tons of pics.


I've been trying to catch that stupid cat in the trap, so I can put down a garden without it turning into a giant litter box. But so far I've trapped a possum, and a terrified raccoon. Callum saw the raccoon in the trap the morning I found it, so he's been talking all about the “maccoom” since then. And of course the dogs are going out of their minds. (I did let the maccoom go. It scurried under the damn shed, where it's probably got a nice little home and a ton of babies who are also going to spend their lives trying to eat garbage. But I don't know what else to do with it.)

National Poetry Month is over and thank god for that. Almost all of my poems were forced and really sucky this year. I wasn't feeling it, and I'd almost always rather have been writing something else or even just doing something else. And to top it all off, I got a message from a curator at hitRECord, and would I be interested in writing something for a science-related radio show? HELL YES I WOULD. What's the deadline? MAY 1st. Oops! I really want to whip something up tonight before bed. I hope I can!

Right now there's a guy outside cleaning the leaves out of the yard. I went and hired someone because it's been YEARS, the place looks like trash, and I just don't have time. He's doing it for really cheap. So I keep going out there every half hour to bring him some food and water and ask if he wants a sandwich or something like that. It's not even going to be perfect; it's just getting rid of years worth of leaves. The rest of the junk (old Xmas trees, tons of weeds and brush,) is still going to be there. Two hours a day, I get. I use them to write. The yard doesn't even come in second. But it's still hard for me to ask for help – even if I'm paying.

Mother's Day is just around the corner, and then Callum's birthday. I generally don't do much for Mother's Day—really just get a little something for my Mom—but I really look forward to Callum's birthday. Err, all two of them so far. Last year's one was such a beautiful and fun day. I hope this one will be, too. I actually just bought him that stupid LeapPad thing. There are so many things I said I would never do as a Mom that I have to do now, like microwaving things. Honestly, sometimes you just run out of time and you're like, “Okay, I fail as a Mom today.” I don't necessarily think that getting a Leap Pad is a fail, though; it's not like he's going to use it all the time. He's got a little toy laptop, and even a few other LeapFrog products, like toy phones and tablets, and he only uses them once in a while. This one has WiFi, though, and I figured I'd get it for the airplane ride in August, at the very least. We still mostly run around the house, or outside, and play, and read. I'm happy to say that I'm not really exaggerating with that. We do a lot of things that don't involve watching TV or youtube. So I think a little WiFi toy will be okay; it's not going to eat all his time.

You know, the way Tumblr eats mine. ^_^ Although when I really do have to get something done, I get it done. Right now I've got a manuscript out to two people (well, a partial, and a full after a partial, which is REALLY EXCITING because hi, you liked those first 3 chapters enough to ask for more!) And I'm still revising the NaNo one like a bitch. Like a HUGE bitch, I mean I keep changing things all the time. Soon, I'm going to have to put it somewhere so that close, trusted people can look at it, and then put it into OWSFFH and let people really have a go. Do major, major revisions. And then start querying that one, too. That story doesn't even know what it is, yet. But I'm to the point where I'm dreaming about it, so I think that's good.

Yesterday was 70 degrees. Today it's back in the low 50s. Damn it, weather. TURN HOT.

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