Random Thursday: In a Random Mood

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

Look what I found in a folder on my desktop when I was trying to find my original draft of chapter seventeen!

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How to make Sewing Fun Again

Ultimate Sewing Machine

Just take the arc reactor out of the cryhole, blue line it, attach it to the bobbinator, and pop out the dilithium crystal so you don’t abuse the quaffle with the uppydowny or snap the snitch when you let ‘er rip with the flounce attachment.

Wow . . . that sounds way more suggestive than I’d intended.

Then again, it is supposed to be more fun, so . . .

(one of you sent me this—who?)

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Save the Death Bats!

Because pollinators are so very important to our ecosystem, the U.S. now has a National Pollinator Health Strategy.

I am 100% behind this, especially if we can get some government power (such as it is) behind saving bees and bats.

However . . .

Pollinating Bat

. . . it occurs to me that while this fuzzy yellow guy is clearly a major contributor to the process of pollination,
not to mention absolutely adorable,
as many bats are,
he is also caked with pollen,
which makes him one of the deadliest creatures in the world,
to those of us with sinus problems.

The Ciiiiiiircle of Liiiiiiife . . .

(Cha Cha shared this on Facebook for serious reasons, which I subverted for a cheap laugh—unless you clicked the image to look at the National Pollinator Health Strategy, which would make me a marketing genius . . . and also feel less guilty)

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Sanford and Son were . . .  British?

That’s . . . weird.

I wonder if Elizabeth knew?

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Hey, Mike!

The man always had to have the last word, didn’t he?

Mel Blanc tombstone

If the rest of you want to know why I think Mr. Blanc’s gravestone is relevant, check this out.

And then do yourself a solid and go through the rest of Mike Allegra’s archives—
some of his stories have moved me to tears.

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Which Horseman of the Apocalypse are You?

Me?  I’m Procrastination.  Sorry I’m late . . .

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 I’d Tap That

But I’d fall down. A lot.

The Wild Librarian Makes a Decision

Wild LibrarianIt’s been thirty working days since I started my new job as a General Reference Librarian after working for fifteen years as a Specialist Librarian. My probationary period is over—time flies when you’re scrambling–and last week, the supervisor in charge of my training e-mailed me to set up an appointment for my evaluation.

My training supervisor is not an unreasonable person—on the contrary—and, logically, I knew that no matter what was decided, I would still be employed.  Under our contracts, unless I managed to do something actionable, I would be allowed to return to my old job as a Specialist Librarian if it was decided that I wasn’t cut out to cater to the informational needs of the general population.

But it still felt like my parole officer had called me up and said, “We need to have a little talk about your recent behavior.” And really, that’s what she did say, even if the adrenaline spike and subsequent stomach drop weren’t intentional.

When I mentioned my reaction to a fellow librarian, she reminded me that the evaluation goes both ways. My supervisor might suggest that I might be happier in my previous position, but even if the ink on her evaluation glowed with the holy light of pure approval, I was still allowed to say, “This was a lovely vacation, but . . .”

It dawned on me that if someone offers you the opportunity to make an informed decision, you’re about to make a decision that would benefit from a bit of thought.

So a wrote out a couple of lists.  First, the old job:

Pros and Cons

 Conclusion:  I’ve accumulated some baggage in fifteen years . . . and a good percentage of it is stored in the back seat.

The next list proved that some of my brainstormed cons weren’t actually cons, but I put ‘em in anyway, for the sake of verisimilitude, which is a word I like to air out when I can, mostly because I’m proud of myself for remembering to put that first ‘i’ between the ‘r’ and the ‘s':

Pros and Cons2

Conclusion:  Just because my back hurts like a  hurting thing (especially when I get the hiccups, gosh $#!% it) and I don’t have a place to hang my kids’ latest deathless artwork and I don’t have anyone who will tolerate my compulsion to snap rubber bands over the exposed air vent shafts while I think up ways to get people excited about local history . . . it doesn’t mean General Reference work isn’t my calling.

Add this to my evaluation, which was actually fairly glowing—in the sunlight from the windows I forgot to mention that my old, lower-level department doesn’t have—and my decision was made.

This is where I belong, for the right reasons.

Onward.

Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Real Thing)

We WriWa bannerHave a WIP, an EIP, an MS, or a published work you want to share on your blog, eight to ten sentences at a time?

Want to sample other people’s WIPs, EIPs, MSs, or published works, eight to ten sentences at a time?

Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

Rules are here!

List of participants is here!

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Or if you’re a fellow Facebook addict (we can quit any time we want to, right?),
why not check out the offerings of the Snippet Sunday gang?

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This week’s snippet is about three pages after last week’s, since Our Wereduck Hero Tom Mahon and his brother Bryan the Werewolf need to have a discussion about plottish things, like the Big Bad Antagonist, who has been tracking Bryan across the country and also sent a killer werewolf after Tom in the first chapter of this book.

And, you know, why (Easy answer: to give my characters something to do).

They’re interrupted by a scream from the house;  it seems Tala, Bryan’s half-feral co-escapee from the Big Bad, has not instantly adjusted to life in the suburbs.

Not the boss crossstitch

“That’s Tala’s decision,” Bryan said, turning to her. “But you will be polite about refusing. And if you raise a claw to Mom or Jackie again—“ He frowned at Jackie, who closed her mouth. “I’ll have to make other arrangements for you.”

“You won’t send me away,” she said, the certainty in her voice competing with her clenched fists.

“I don’t want to send you away,” he said, “but I need to know you’ll be safe. This is the safest place I know.”

“Safe,” she said, her lip curling. “You say that like it’s a real thing.”

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Teenagers are a universal thing, apparently.

I’m not actually sure how old Tala is (still shaking out the timeline) but most of of her years were pretty rough and she doesn’t expect this to change.

Which means she’s sort of earned that lip curl and my 12-year old, from whose (otherwise beautiful) face I stole it, has not.

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Image is from Subversive Cross Stitch, which I highly recommend for all your subversive (and NSFW, depending, of course, on what your W is) cross stitch needs.

So . . . Here’s What Happened . . .

Yesterday, was my day off. I’d planned to use the gift certificate I received for Mother’s Day to get my nails done and then maybe blog about it because I know how much y’all adore every detail about my nail care routine.

But I also  had to buy a birthday present for Sunny’s friend, dishwashing detergent, pumpernickel bread, a specific birthday gift for my husband, balloons for Jane’s science assignment illustrating static electricity.  I needed to make dinner for a friend who just had surgery (which is why pumpernickel bread is mentioned in the previous sentence) and deliver it.  I then had to pick up the kids from school—because my husband graciously agreed to take them to school that morning—and get them home in time for my husband to take them to their respective music lessons.Dancing Cake

Piece of cake.

I perhaps slept in a little more than I wanted to but I did get on the exercise bike without too much whining.  Showered, dressed, and sufficiently caffeinated, I set off.

The first store had Sunny’s friend’s gift and the detergent,* but no pumpernickel, specific husband gift, or reasonably priced balloons.

The second store had reasonably priced balloons (plus the gift bags and birthday cards I’d forgotten to add to the list), but didn’t carry bread or gifts my husband would appreciate.

I zipped over to my nail appointment, by which I mean I followed at minimal safe distance a series of other drivers who seemed to be unclear about where they were going and how quickly they needed to get there, but were adamant about leaving their turn signals on to save time.  But I did make it with minutes to spare.

Say what you want about the frivolity of manicures, but it’s always lovely to have someone hold your hand for half an hour, add a little color to your life, and then massage pineapple oil into your sore writing muscles.  My nails are now a shade called “Imagination”, which might look beige under artificial light, but sparkles gold in the sunshine.  I like that.

I only wish I’d remembered my gift certificate . . .

The third store had my husband’s birthday present and every kind of bread I could have wished for, as long as I didn’t wish for pumpernickel.

The fourth store had pumpernickel.

I went home, hid some of my shopping,** and started scraping carrots, de-stringing celery, and denuding spuds for a vat of baked potato soup (this one with smoked sausage bits added to the onions—and yes, the cat still considers himself a key ingredient) to feed my friend’s family, plus enough for my family the next night.

Halfway through, my stomach demanded to know what I was going to do about its state of impending implosion, so I made lunch, ate it, and continued making soup.  Once soup had been achieved, I let it cool and called my friend for directions.  Her husband, who is a jwonderful man who fully intends to take on his beloved’s work load but had no idea she did quite this much, answered and gave me detailed directions that depended on landmarks that haven’t existed since well before we moved up here, so I secured the street address to their town house complex and dug out the GPS.

I love my GPS but its suction cup mount and I have a non-aggression pact, which it violated by popping free just as I reached the part of town I knew nothing about.  Figuring that GPSing from one’s lap was worse than texting, I pulled over and got my own back by licking the suction cup and slamming it onto the surface of my windshield, where it stuck . . . upside down.  I pried it free, tried again, and we all went on our way.  I don’t believe I was imagining the disapproval in the GPS’s voice, but I didn’t start it, so I didn’t care.

I delivered the soup, bread, a box of Godiva, and hugs to my medication-goofy friend and her exhausted husband, and went to pick up the kids.  While waiting in the Parental Line, I checked my e-mail and found that Jane’s Humanities teacher had cc’d me on an e-mail that supplied the four assignments Jane had missed that month, all of which were due the following day at 3:30.  To her credit . . . pun woefully unintended . . . she fully acknowledged that she needed to do them and told me she needed my computer.

I agreed, because legitimate excuses for writing avoidance are not to be ignored and I’m not interested in providing her with a scapegoat for her lousy grades, thank you.

Brain FailWhen we got home, my husband had put the potato soup in the fridge, which would have been perfect, except he’d inadvertently unearthed the roast I’d bought, which I’d meant to slow-cook Monday but had instead ended up dropping it into the black hole I have where other people keep their memory centers.  The date label suggested that I either cook it by the next day or lose it in the black hole we keep where other people have freezers.

So instead of spending the kids’ music lesson time doing a post on my busy day, I prepped the roast for crockpotting (it’s a Real Verb, Downith, I swear), and began gently reheating potato soup.

The kids came home, told me they didn’t like potato soup and would prefer Campbell’s, please, and dispersed to deal with their Humanities backlog and top up their RDA of cartoons, respectively, which may well have saved their lives and the state of Illinois the cost of a trial.

So I opened cans and heated things and kissed my husband good-bye . . . I think . . . and ended up burning the bottom of the potato soup, because of course.  But everyone was eventually fed and homeworked (she says) and showered, so I made good use of the dishwashing detergent, and sat down to write a belated post about I don’t even know.

And then my MIL came upstairs to complain that her toilet was bubbling, and the last time it did that, the sewer line outside the house had backed up into her back room.

It did that this time, too.

So that’s why my regular Tuesday post is being posted today and also why there will be no random Thursday post tomorrow.***

Because life is being random enough at the moment.

Time Flies

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*Which was so well-hidden behind a young man examining a bottle of drain cleaner and his full cart that I made three passes down the aisle before I realized he was blocking the shelf I needed.  When I finally stopped and said, “Excuse me,” he smirked and said, “Sorry, I have a girlfriend.”    I gave him Sunny’s best unimpressed look and said, “I’ll forgive you if you move so I can get that green box right there.”  Wait for the pitch before you lob it back, gentlemen.

**Not because my husband doesn’t know exactly what he’s getting, but to prevent the kids from opening the bag if front of him, pulling out the gift and saying, “Mom?  Who is this for?”  Bother birthdays and parenting often depend on plausible deniability.

***That and Sunny’s Girl Scout bridging ceremony Thursday evening.  And I just remembered that I have to iron all her badges on her vest.  And that the ironing board is in the back room of my MIL’s apartment . . .

 

 

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Cheating)

We WriWa bannerHave a WIP, an EIP, an MS, or a published work you want to share on your blog, eight to ten sentences at a time?

Want to sample other people’s WIPs, EIPs, MSs, or published works, eight to ten sentences at a time?

Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

Rules are here!

List of participants is here!

________

Or if you’re a fellow Facebook addict (we can quit any time we want to, right?),
why not check out the offerings of the Snippet Sunday gang?

________

Last week’s post introduced Tala, a young, half-feral werewolf to the Mahon family.

Tala, who had been running with a rural, fundamentalist pack, was confused by a family in which a werewolf (Bryan), a weretiger (Jackie), and a wereduck (Our Hero and POV character Tom) were raised by a werebear and . . . whatever Mrs. Mahon might be.

After several pages, she’s still having trouble adjusting, especially to the necessity of hiding in plain sight from a species she’s been taught to think of as inferior.

Turner, Tom’s human friend, is glad to help out.

Bullet

“I don’t need to hide from humans—humans are weak and useless.”

“I’d be offended,” Turner said, mildly, “but my weak and useless ass has put a number of your kind in the ground—purely in self-defense, by the way.”

“Generalities about a whole species are pointless,” I said, “and silver bullets are a great leveler.”

“Silver is cheating! If you didn’t have that—“

“If you didn’t have your claws and your teeth and your quicktime healing, you’d be a tool-user, too.” Turner smiled, friendly as you please. “Survival isn’t cheating, little girl,” he told her. “You should know that by now.”

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I think I’ve mentioned this before, but “fundamentalism” in werewolves—at least in this particular pack—has little to do with religion and a lot to do with behaving as much like “natural wolves” as possible, as judged by werewolves who have never met a wolf in their lives but have fallen for the rhetoric of a would-be Old School Alpha dominant.

And how I started out writing a joke story about a wereduck and ended up with a socio-thinkpiece, I don’t know . . .