Don’t wait up

Way back in April, my friend Dee—who comments here sometimes and with whom I’ve bonded over librarianship, Leverage, husbands, muffins, and music—dropped me an e-mail:

Just FYI, I just found out the Piano Guys are going to be at the Civic Center in Des Moines in October.

Des Moines is within reasonable driving distance from our place—or reasonable for a chance to see this group live and meet Dee face-to-face, anyway—so I immediately replied that we totally needed to go.

And we are.

The tickets arrived in May and I’ve kept them safe ever since—so safe, I thought I’d lost them once or twice.*

But I’m looking at those two lovely pasteboard rectangles right now and soon my husband and I are going to hop in the car and escort them west, where we will trade them in for a night of good company and excellent music, and finally return home to grab a couple hours sleep until it’s time to wake the girls for school.

My husband arranged to have Sunny’s godmother pick them up after school and take them home, where they WILL be doing their homework and minding their grandmother, JANE—and you aren’t supposed to be on the computer, log off right now and finish your math or you’re toast—and tucking themselves in ON TIME, SUNNY—and I hope you’ve done your spelling module?

They’re both a bit befuddled that their parents are escaping running away going on an adventure in the middle(ish) of a school week—and frankly, so am I—but they’re stoked about being allowed to sleep  in my MIL’s guest room as a special treat, so it should work out all right.

Regardless, it won’t be my problem until tomorrow morning.

See you then.


*Though not as safe as I kept the check I wrote to Dee the day after but didn’t actually mail until June.  Letters can be so unreasonable about mailing themselves, even when you go out of your way to find stamps to put on them.


One Lovely Blog (and Eight Better Ones)

onelovelyblogawardEmelia Leigh, a London writer—by which I mean she’s in London, but I suppose she might write about it, too— whose excellent Last Beginning Blog has an inspirational and all-too-relateable backstory that you need to read right now—nominated me last week for the One Lovely Blog Award.

To accept, I’m to share seven facts about myself—supposing there’s anything about me I haven’t shared already that I’m willing to admit to in public—nominate at least seven blogs I regularly read, and provide links to their places.

Here goes:


Whistle1.  I can whistle any tune—I can even do a flying saucer imitation by humming at the same time— but am simply incapable of doing that piercing taxi-call thing with the two fingers. Every time I try, I end up with a popped ear and a wet chin.

sock guy2.  I haven’t worn hosiery—except to exercise in athletic shoes—for at least four years. Even in winter. It wasn’t a conscious decision, exactly, more like an incredibly long series of smaller decisions based on a deep, abiding hatred of women’s trouser socks and pantyhose.

3.  When I play Words with Friends, I’m much more likely to win if I play very quickly. If I stop to think about strategy, I’m doomed. This may explain the problems I have using story outlines . . .

blueberry guy4.  My favorite on-the-go drink mix is a generic -brand Blueberry-Acai Energy, not only because it’s cheap and has caffeine in it—though heaven knows that would be enough—but also because when you shake the bottle perhaps a bit too enthusiastically hard enough, the water goes pink and the bubble froth goes blue. SCIENCE!

5.  I sometimes wonder if I’m really a writer, or just someone who loves to read so much that I confused the two. I’m also aware that I borrowed this particular self-doubt from John Irving’s Hotel New Hampshire, which doesn’t help much, especially when it occurs to me that I’ve put a bear in my current  project. . .

6.  I love listening to music when I’m driving and have been known to belt out anything and everything from country to Opera, just try to stop me sing along—volume is no object. The kids are totally on board with all this, pun intended, and I’ve added our favorites to a special kid-safe Driving Playlist that includes everything from (“#thapower” for Jane, “Scream & Shout” and the Black Eyed Peas for me) to the Backstreet Boys (Rachel adores “Larger Than Life”, which is Not My Fault), plus a square ton of acapella groups and cello covers (2cellos, Apocalyptica, Pentatonix, etc.) for me.

This is my current favorite, because it makes me feel like I’m getting away with (or from) something:

When we discovered Sunday that my MP3 radio converter had died sometime during the night, we didn’t even bother to turn on the radio —my kids and I were quiet the entire trip, as if stunned by sudden grief. Which, I suppose, we were.

Hitchhikers7. I’m always secretly proud of myself when I pay a bill the moment I receive it or register a new purchase right away, or remember to bring coupons to the store and use them, or rearrange conflicting appointments in my planner and immediately call people about them. It’s like I’m a Real Adult™ . . . who just happens to be shaking her bottle of Blueberry-Acai to make the bubbles turn blue.

I’m now supposed to nominate seven of my favorite bloggers.  If you’re named here, you’re under no obligation.

If I missed you, it’s because if I listed all the blogs I obsessively read, I’d never get this done, or you’ve just been nominated by someone else, you’ve just decided to stop blogging, or I know for a fact that you don’t care for awards much.

Indy, who rules Fangs and Clause with a grammatical fist in a witty glove and also writes me Firefly poetry.

Lyra, who runs Lyrical Meanderings and is fantastic, funny, fierce, and inspirational like whoa.

Averil Dean, though she’s supplied (and required) more than five times as many facts in her past two posts.

Mike Allegra, in the efforts to get him to come of out hiatus, if only this once (please?).

Caitlin Stern, from caitlinsternwrites, who does interesting things with shifters and chimera and also sends me escalator dragons.

Laura Maylene Walter, an accomplished writer whose facts, if she chooses to participate, will probably include at least one cat.

John Shaw of Taps and Ratamacues, because go read his poetry right now (and try his recipes, because yum).

Sherry Stanfa-Stanley, whose 52/52 Project is almost as amazing as she is.

Thanks again, Emelia!  That was fun!

And So It Went

I had the best weekend, y’all.

On Saturday, my GPS and I slalomed down the Orange Barrel Trail to Indianapolis, a trip that would have taken longer than I planned, even if I’d remembered which time zone and Daylight Savings Plan that part of the state is using these days.

The purpose of the journey was to meet up with writer friends I’d originally met online a couple of years ago, when I started hanging out in the comments section of Betsy Lerner’s blog. Four of us—Lyra, Sherry Stanley Stanfa, and Laura Maylene Walter, just to shamelessly name drop—were meeting Saturday, spending the night at the perfectly placed Westin Hotel, and then having breakfast with three other friends the next morning.

Lyra and I had hoped to arrive early in the afternoon to spend an hour of two writing and/or talking over snacklunch, but we’d both made a late start and the above memoryfail about the time zone, so we both showed up around four o’clock EST, mere minutes before Sherry and Laura.

We dumped our stuff with Christian the Concierge, who can rock a bow tie, and immediately set forth to find the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, because it closed at 5.

Unfortunately, we set forth in the wrong direction, but we found a lovely park about ten blocks down where we could stop, reorient ourselves, and maybe turn the map around a little.

We did make it in time, though and it was well worth the walk.


Kurt Vonnegut FTW

Photo graciously supplied by Lyra–my attempt was a big black rectangle.

It’s a great place, small but high impact, with art and reading materials, displays and quotes, photographs of an astonishingly young Mr. Vonnegut—I found the evolution of his hair almost as interesting as the rest of his personal history— and also a knowledgeable assistant curator (I think?) with whom we had a great conversation about the outrageous banning of books in schools (his daughter is a lucky kid).

And a nifty little gift shop, where many Vonnegut-themed souvenirs were purchased.

I spent the rest of the evening and a good portion of the night eating, talking, drinking, talking, laughing, suddenly getting serious with the talk, moving to a quieter venue, and drinking, eating, and talking some more with these amazing women who happen to be amazing writers and, somehow, my friends.

I wore out about half-past midnight, because I am a sleep-deprived pumpkin, and collapsed into a bed so comfortable^ I would have tried to smuggle out with me—mattress, duvet, and All The Pillows—if I thought I could find my car in the parking garage and stuff everything into the trunk of my Civic before I was caught by Christian the Concierge.

The next morning, I woke earlier than I’d intended, showered, packed, wrote a very little, poked at the Vonnegut-shaped Souvenir Blister on my left foot—and so it goes—and went down to the lobby to meet Amy, who kindly helped me find my car so I could stash the mattress dump my bags. We waved at Lisa Golden, who passed by on her way to a more sensible parking space, and headed for Café Patachou, where we joined and were joined by the rest of our crew at our table, which was blessedly close to both the Self-Serve Coffee Station and the bathroom.

It was serendipity all the way through, y’all.

After a couple hours of talk both writerly and otherwise, and the eating of good food and drinking of massive amounts of delicious caffeine, we all hugged—one or two of us might have teared up a bit—and went off in our separate directions.

The GPS and I followed the Orange Barrel Trail west for five hours and a good portion of Laurie King’s Garment of Shadows, arrived home, passed out leaf-shaped bars of hotel soap to my children, who are not Vonnegut fans (yet), and collapsed on my own pretty-darned-comfortable mattress until dinner.

It was a very good weekend.

We need to do it again—soon!


*I was later told that the others came into the room twice to get beer and snacks from the cooler, and when I woke up the next morning, Lyra was sleeping in the other bed, but I don’t remember a thing. That’s serious comfort. Or serious exhaustion, anyway, which is easier to fit into a Honda Civic, so whatever.


Random Thursday: Cute Groot, Slick Vids, and a Sad

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.

How can it be the middle of September already, when the days and weeks are dragging like a series of lead-lined Mondays?


First, the Sad

Sad Kitty

My friend Grace, who has been putting up with me for ten years both in and out of the library,
is leaving for New Mexico this weekend to head her own department.

A small,  selfish part of me wishes I hadn’t given her such a glowing recommendation.

A slightly bigger part really doesn’t want to deal with the return of all the craft stuff I dumped in her spare room the last time I moved.

But most of me wishes her well and all of me will miss her very much.

And none of me envies her three-day cross-country trip with those two cats of hers.

Prenez soin de vous, mon ami.

Et les chats, trop.



This makes me want to unplug for a while and read a book.

I mean, right after I finish this post, check my e-mail, ramp up my high scores in Fruit Ninja, and watch those funny robots again.

(I know what you’re implying, Kev, and may I remind you that you’re the one who e-mailed me the embed code for this through Facebook, via your iPad.)



Baby Yarngroot


Okay, that’s not all: Click His Galactic Squeeness for his free (!) crochet pattern
from Her Awesomesauceness Twinkie Chan.

And then make me one, please.

(Thanks, Watson—too bad we’re both knitters . . . )



by Ion Lucin.

Whoa.  Just . . . Whoa.

Cancelling Monday



Yesterday was the Monday of Mondays.

It was also the second Monday of the month, which meant I had to haul across two towns to to the branch on the far edge of the next town over and get everything set up.

were ten minutes late leaving the house because the same children who had sworn to me the night before—on the life of their mother, which was an ironic touch—that they had everything in their backpacks and their favorite clothes laid out for morning and already knew what they wanted for breakfast woke up unable to find their flute, their homework, or a matching set of shoes.  They also developed a sudden hatred of every single item of school-appropriate clothing they owned, plus allergies to Cheerios and toast.

I dropped them off and, having looked at the traffic reports, decided to avoid construction and take another route to work.  Along the way, I discovered that there are 37 traffic lights between the children’s school and the western branch library, and if you time it just right, you can hit every single one of them—including the one that allows the fire station to manoeuver their big truck in and out (and in and out and in) of the garage.

There are three schools on that route as well. One of them had an electronic sign that compared the speed limit to how fast you’re driving. That’s probably what caused the three car pileup about ten feet past.

When I arrived, the building services guy told me that the program—which has been held on the second Monday of the month (barring a few special scheduling adjustments for holidays) for the past seven years—wasn’t on the schedule and someone else had booked our room. We later figured out that Labor Day had confused the scheduling software, but at the time I was too busy wondering how I could fit twenty-plus people into a meeting room meant for ten.

We decided, since the other group was smaller and didn’t need the kitchen, to switch rooms on them and put up big signs in front of each door that were, apparently, completely invisible to anyone registered for that other meeting. I apologized a lot, to them for the confusion and to my group for the constant interruptions, and took a carafe of coffee over as a peace offering. I’m not sure they accepted the apologies, but they did interrupt us twice more for refills.

I managed to get everything cleaned and drive myself back to my regular branch, just in time for lunch.

Lunch, I have to admit, was pretty good: homemade matzoh ball soup. I only splashed a little on my top.

The afternoon was productive, but left me wondering about people who trust their memories of an article someone briefly showed them fifteen (or six . . . or maybe ten . . . no more than twenty, I’m sure of it) years ago over a comprehensive, full-text index that indicates that this specific newspaper (of our four regional papers) did not publish that article.

It was gently brought to my attention halfway through the afternoon that I’d been humming this all afternoon. And possibly singing it not quite far enough under my breath. Badly.

My husband sent me a text telling me that Sunny had forgotten her math workbook at school and was grounded from screen time.

The commute home was spent behind two enormous trailer trucks that were literally incapable of going over thirty on that road and were, apparently, completely invisible to the man driving his pickup veryclosebehindme, unless he thought my Honda Civic could shove an eighteen-wheeler up a 6% incline. Or would serve as a decent bumper buffer if he tried it.

When I got home, I got something out of the trunk—I half expected the pickup to be in there—when I realized that Rocinante’s tags expire next month. After a search of all the places important papers hide in the house, I decided that if I’d received a renewal notice from the DMV, I didn’t have it now. I’m so looking forward to visiting the DMV . . .

I managed to pour cold water on my foot and half a soup pot of warm water down my front when I was doing the dishes.

Sunny managed to extend her bedtime nearly an hour by refusing to do the math problems her father had reconstructed from the images another parent had sent him, via Facebook.

The other adults in the house were, apparently, completely invisible to the kids in the house and the very grumpy cat.  The very grumpy cat’s litterbox was likewise invisible, officially making random invisibility the conspiracy of the day.

There was no chocolate in the house.  Unless it was invisible.

I absolutely did NOT feel like writing anything at all. Oddly enough, the writing I managed to do didn’t feel like anything at all.

The bureau tried, with some success, to bite off my toe as I walked past.

I squirted a blob of toothpaste into the sink instead of my toothbrush. Five minutes later, I dropped a contact into the sink. Guess where?

I sat down at the computer to check my e-mail one last time before I called it a very long, doomed day. There were two messages waiting.

One was a(nother) rejection letter.

One was a brief note from a good friend telling me, out of the blue, that I was “the best fangirl writer-buddy poetry enabler a girl could ever have.”


Who knew it would turn out to be such a great Monday?

Pigeons in love