Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Books by Friends and Mini Sewing Projects

Look at what came in the mail today!

Lips Touch, by Laini Taylor and illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo; Silksinger, also by Laini Taylor and illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo; and Operation: YES, by Sara Lewis Holmes.

I have been eagerly awaiting for these books. Laini and Sara are my friends, so of course I wanted to support them, but I really just wanted the books because I know they are going to be awesome reads! I got a chance to read Silksinger in an earlier rendition and add comments to it (Laini surprised me by sending it to me---I have no idea if my comments were helpful or not, but I hope so). I can't wait to see what is the same and what has changed! Sara's book is going to be thoughtful and funny, and guess what? She agreed to do an interview on this very humble blog! (So I have to read it, like, NOW.)

Yay for getting friends' books in the mail!

I was in such a good mood that even though I only got three hours of sleep last night due to sleepless children, and had an early morning appointment that required me to bring both kids along and get their blood tested, resulting in much dramatic wailing, I finished a sewing project! (How's that for a caffeinated sentence?) I took a look at my beautiful new machine,

And thought, I should get out that ridiculously adorable flannel and make some baby washcloths!

Since we use cloth diapers, we also use cloth wipes, and these will come in handy. Plus, they're super cute and I made them.

Now, I should go take a nap while the baby is napping, but I've had too much coffee. I will most likely collapse in the midst of the bedtime routine, likely folded over a picture book or two. Elizabeth will have to prod me out of her bed and tuck herself in, all alone. Poor child. Guess she shouldn't have woken me up at 4 a.m.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

M.T. Anderson

I am going to write my darndest to catch up to him. He is the writer I most want to emulate.

(Reading The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traiter to the Nation, Vol 2., Kingdom on the Waves and LOVING it. Mr. Anderson is a verifiable genius.)

The only downside to reading his books is that they tend to run long, run deep, and keep me from writing whilst I'm reading them.

Friday, September 25, 2009


If you handed a box of tissues to a chimpanzee, would she start pulling the tissues out? Would a parrot try it too? Or is this a uniquely human (specifically a wee human) trait?

Henry, my ten-month old walking/climbing/giggling son.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Other projects

I just finished my first 50 pages in my work-in-progress! Yay! 11,000 words. Phew. I have written it in first-person present-tense, third-person omniscient, and finally settled on my usual: first-person near-past-tense. I've twisted the plot around and around. I've threaded, unravelled, and re-threaded the words. And now I can say I'm on my way. I have a sense of who my characters are and where they are going.

To celebrate, I got a new sewing machine (THIS ONE!) and finally made Elizabeth a dress-and-backpack combo. She had picked out the pattern and fabric a month ago, and I finally did it. Apparently, I can sew! It wasn't me, it was my old, unworking sewing machine that was the problem before.

Taking pictures (or "catching Elizabeth on film") is nearly as difficult as sewing, by the way. (It also helps to have the camera on the right setting, apparently.) Here ya go:


Thursday, September 10, 2009

So did I succeed? And guess who peed?

The house is clean. The kids are in bed. Dinner was cooked and was delicious. Peace and Quiet are now here to spend the evening with me.

During Henry's awake times, when I could not do much around the house, we played outside in the back yard. A family of deer visit us often, and I was happy to see this time that one of the babies no longer limps. (Unless it's a different set of deer.)

This is our tiny garden, by the way. We've got broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and tomatoes. We have no idea if we'll get anything before it frosts. Henry thinks that's fine, and says that the dirt it quiet edible.

Henry thought the deer were awesome, as is apparent in his wide grin.

Our yard is terraced. The top level is where the garden and the fence are, and then there's the middle level, which is where we have our compost pile, and then the bottom level, which is a beautiful, serene garden beneath a sequoia and a walnut tree. The deer like to nibble the soft grass and lounge there. (The deer seem really tiny in this picture.)

And in case you've never seen this...

Yes, mama deer always pees before meandering back into the woods. Guess that's like saying, "Hey, other deer, this is my spot."


Considering my house has sneezed in every room and corner possible, the book is long from being even half-done, the baby is not napping (or apparently close), I have a lot to accomplish today. So the plan is to do it. All of it. Every nook and cranny must be organized and cleaned. Every cheerio picked up off the floor (yes, the house sneezed that badly). All the diapers washed and hung out in the sun to dry. The pictures finally hung on the walls. The pile of papers stacked and shoved to the side for Jim to sift through (I refuse). The clothes washed, dried, and--gasp--put away neatly in their drawers.

Then, when the house is comfortable and unsickly, I will be able to breathe calmly and write.

If Henry allows it. He is, after all, the Demanding One now that his big sister is at preschool all day.

If only he'd take a NAP! Shhh. Go to sleep, baby, go to sleep. You're so very, very tired.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


BalladThis is a teaser from Maggie Stiefvater's BALLAD, a novel involving homicidal faeries and kissing that's coming out October 1st.

He turned towards me. For a long moment, he stood facing me. I was held, anchored to the ground – not by his music, which still called and pushed against the music already in my head and said grow rise follow – but by his strangeness. By his fingers, spread over the ground, holding something into the earth, by his shoulders, squared in a way that spoke of strength and unknowability, and most of all, by the great, thorny antlers that grew from his head, spanning the sky like branches.

Then he was gone, and I missed his going in the instant that the sun fell off the edge of the hill, abandoning the world to twilight.

Buy it here. Enter the contest at Maggie's blog here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Originally uploaded by ambotchka
In honor of OPERATION YES, by Sara Holmes, here's a photo of me way "back in the day." No, I don't really smoke, but we were having fun and taking pictures and generally feeling very cavalier, and this is what happens in such moments.

[I was deployed to both CAMP VICTORY and CAMP SLAYER, Iraq, from July 2004 to March 2005.]