Recent Reasons to Smile

♥ Janie asked me to have a Five-Minute Sit Down Breakfast with her in the middle of this morning’s chaos.  We managed two, but with a little practice . . .


Give Peas a Chance♥ Give Peas a Chance by Morris Gleitzman. A collection of kid-oriented short stories written by an Australian with an uncanny talent for balancing poignancy with humor (The first one in the collection is here).  The audio version (read by the author and the delightful Ruth Schoenheimer), which I’m listening to in the car right now is even better.  

My favorite so far is “100 Text Messages you must Read Before you Die”, which proves that actions speak louder than words and there’s nothing more actionable than a father’s love for his daughter.


♥ Friends who snark out of affection.


♥ I woke up humming a favorite song that I hadn’t heard in over a year—and it played on the radio during Two-Minute Sit Down Breakfast so I could groove to it in front of the kids.


♥ Pomegranate and Blood Orange Skittles.

Darkside Skittles





(And also the concept of “the other side of the rainbow”)


♥ Air-conditioned workplaces.


♥ Kids in superhero costumes who are happy to have a serious discussion of the merits of Batman versus Captain America with you until their parents coax them away from the library desk.

Cap Shield

Fresh Paint app♥ Children who can be bribed into vacuuming their rooms and setting the table with a pad of drawing paper and an hour on my Fresh Paint app, respectively.


♥ That I managed to discover a continuity error in my WIP and managed to fix it all by myself yesterday.


♥ A Harry Potter/Hot Fuzz crossover fanfic series that works far, far better than it should.  Especially when it calls Dumbledore to task for some of his shenanigans and eventually has Ron in it.

Potter Fuzz

♥ That I had something to blog about after all.



Unplanning My Day

Nothing Happened

I’m taking the day off today for no reason.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have reasons.

There’s a list of errands I’d like to get done before Saturday.  I need to do a couple ten loads of laundry, write some e-mails, fills out some forms, meet a deadline or two.  And perimenopause—which is what this had better be, or I’m quitting the biological lifestyle for good—is making certain things suck in a truly sucky way that makes me want to build a statue to the creators of Midol, sit on the top of it, and keep the pigeons away with the sheer power of my unreasonable irritation with everything ever, and also Jane’s marshmallow gun, because pigeons are not only naturally immune to annoyed glares, they appear to thrive on them.

But what I really need a day off without expectations.

I don’t have any appointments today.  The children are at school.  The library patrons are at the library. My MIL has no appointments she needs to be driven to and my husband is teaching classes.  The cat, who has developed the nasty habit of howling in the bathrooms at 3am, has fallen silent.

Nobody needed me this morning.  I didn’t have anything I needed to do.

So I slept in a little, got up to take a shower in a pre-warmed bathroom, dressed in my ugliest Not Leaving The House separates, and bestowed hugs and lunchbags on the kids before my husband took them to school (the kids and the lunches, though I hope the hugs went, too).  I sat down with a mug of coffee and a slice of homemade rice bread and did the sudoku in the paper, something I never have the time or the pencil to do in the morning.  It took me a while without the help of the familiar electronic grid, but that was fine.

Just in case I might want to go out to lunch somewhere when my husband returns from his morning classes, I started a load of laundry. I read a little, which led me to edit a bit I’m doing for a new Round Robin project, which led me to write a letter—a real one, longhand, with an envelope and everything—to a friend.  I put the laundry in the dryer, brushed my hair, and then chose to brush my teeth over having another cup of coffee.

I turned on the computer, wished my SIL a happy birthday on Facebook, finalized my Halloween costume, and brainstormed the next couple of steps on two projects, without worrying about carrying out any of those plans, and ended up with several pages of notes.

I didn’t quite sign up for Nanowrimo, but I thought about it.

And now I’m here, writing a blog post that might be the closest thing to a Must Do I’ll have until the kids come home at four.

For someone who had no To Do List, I seem to be compiling a pretty good Have Done List.

Funny how that works . . .


Too Tired to Type


A Box of Dragons

We moved into our house when Sunny, who is seven—“and a half, Mom!”— was still being toted around in her pumpkin seat.

Unless this is the first post you’ve read around here, it should come as no surprise that we aren’t quite unpacked, yet. We’re so used to that stack of boxes in the corner of the dining room that they’ve effectively become an extension of the sideboard, and don’t get me started on the garage, because if I complain, I might be forced to do something about it, and I don’t want to.

The kids view the garage boxes as challenges on their personal game show Awesome or Junk? in which the contestants unpack cartons with energetic abandon, scattering the packing materials for extra points, before picking over the contents for things to add to their personal hoards, and abandoning the mess for the stagehands to clean up.

I don’t like that show very much, even when nothing else is on.

But this weekend, Jane—who has just reached the Fantasy Novels Are All That stage in her development—noticed one of the boxes out there had the word DRAGONS written on it.

“Like, dragon dragons?” she asked, her eyes shining.

“Figurines,” I said. “Little statues and things. And some other stuff. I used to collect them.”

“COOL. Can we open it?”

“I’m not sure—”

“Please, Mommy?” Sunny said.  “I want to see the dragons, too!”

“But they’re safe where they are,” I said, “and I don’t really want to repack every—”

“Did you know,” Jane said, “there’s a set of dragon statues in the museum gift shop?  They’re so, so awesome.”

“That’s nice, but—“

“The big one is like a hundred and twenty dollars, but the small one is only eighty. I thought maybe for my birthday?”

“Go get the box.”

If there is any doubt that dragons are magical creatures, please consider that a single average-sized book carton produced twenty-four of them.


There were elegant dragons:

Red Dragon


 Metal dragons (and one fabric art dragon, a cute clay one, and an elephant):

Janes Dragons


Two Dragons


Pocket Dragons®:

Pocket Squad


Stuffed dragons:

Sunnys Dragons


A shelf dragon:

Hangin Dragon


Two badly photographed wearable dragonistas (the fur one is a puppet with a remote controlled head):



Aaaaand two wooden dragons—one flat Celtic brooch and a winged South American winged one meant to hang over a cradle to give the baby nightmares protect the baby against evil spirits—that I forgot to photograph this morning when I realized I needed a blog post.

But that’s not all.

In that same box, we found:

Two cats from Peru and Japan:

Peru Cat

Japanese Cat


Assorted Mice:




Some old writing buddies:

Goat Dude

Goat Dude

Worm Guy

Worm Guy

Derpy McTurtleson

“Derpy McTurtleson!” Jane said.


A grumpy-faced composer:



And gnomes.


Because gnomes have happened to me all my life, that’s why.

There were also a frog, a turtle, and a lion carved out of tiger’s eye that I couldn’t photograph well enough to share. And, of course, that metal elephant bank up there somewhere that was part, I believe, of my christening set.


It must have been magic, because I don’t remember fitting it all in there—or being such an efficient packer.

We really need to save that box . . .

After I told the kids the stories behind each one—I won’t bore you, unless asked—we divvied up the spoils and distributed the prizes around the house, as artistically as possible.

I guess Awesome or Junk? isn’t that bad a game after all.

But don’t tell the kids about the other DRAGON box I stashed around somewhere.

It’s getting crowded around here.


Library Meatloaf

Yesterday marked the start of the first full week of school and also the first morning confiscations of the school year.

With minimal frisking—this ain’t my first rodeo—I bagged an iPod, an MP3 player, and a set of earbuds I thought I’d left in Chicago from an eleven-year old who honestly may not have noticed they were still attached to her, and also a bulldog puppy named Meatloaf, whose seven-year old thought I was kidding when I said she wasn’t allowed to bring toys to school without asking her teacher first.

I promised Sunny I’d take good care of him all day. Remarkably, this worked and she handed him over with minimal fuss and a heartening touch of guilt.

To be honest, I meant to leave him in the car, but tossed him in my bag instead, where he quietly tangled himself in my badge lanyard.

When I pulled out my badge to clock in, there he was.

And since he was, I decided to put him to work.

Meatloaf Clocking in

Did it beep? I didn’t hear a beep . . .

Meatloaf turned out to be the perfect library page: eager, willing, and remarkably quiet, considering his owner.

He helped answer the phone:

Meatloaf Taking Calls

Yes, we’re open. Yes, I’m sure.

Look up information for patrons:

Meatloaf at the Catalog

You don’t know the title, the author, or the plot, but the cover could be blue? Or maybe red?  No problem.

And sort magazines (from his expression, clearly not his favorite):

Meatloaf and Magazines

Um . . . I’m going to need the step stool. And some thumbs.

He also shared my dinner and helped me hone my Flappy Bird skillz* on Jane’s iPod before napping in my lunchbag for the rest of my shift.

Meatloaf for Lunch

Got any Scooby Snacks?

At the end of the day, I returned one very sleepy puppy to his equally sleepy little girl just in time for him to tell her all about his day before I tucked them both into bed.

This morning, I didn’t have to remove him from Sunny’s backpack.

I found him hiding in my purse. Wearing my lanyard.

Good boy!


*Which are nonexistent.  Someone needs to invent a game where you’re supposed to bash a digital bird into the same building over and over.  I would be the reigning champion of the world.

Quiz Me, Baby, One More Time

You know those personality quizzes that invite you to discover what color/tv actor/superhero/Disney princess/Supreme Court Justice you are by asking you whether you’d pay for your pizza with cash or write a check?

They’re everywhere.  You can’t go on Facebook these days without finding out that your friends are channeling Mae West, Charizard, and/or Benjamin Disraeli.

And I’m not immune, even if the questions ar either completely obvious (“Would you tell the cute person at the bar to ‘Come up sometime and see me‘ or ‘Action my not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action‘?”) or weird as snake shoes—though that might be the Charizard coming through.

Because who among us wouldn’t want to know more about their fundamental, core personality, as exemplified by the  Muppet who would also thrash to Martin Garrix at the club and spend the weekend reading Proust to his or her avocado plant?

So, according to the finest free psychological analysis methods currently available online, here’s me in a couple of nutshells—pecan, apparently, if you’re wondering:


Color Quiz

**So far so good, except for the calm, the peaceful and the outdoors part.  But my favorite color is green.**


 Wendy Darling

(Literary Character)

Literary Quiz

“You are basically good. Overcoming selfish desires or cruel ways, you focus on doing the right thing, when possible, and acting in a way to benefit everyone. You recognize your human weaknesses and imperfections, and are able to respond to them in well-balanced ways. You are clever and analytical. You think about various angles of something, and you calculate the best way to achieve goals.

Kind, generous, and even motherly, Wendy serves as the only mother the Lost Boys have ever known. Strong willed, still, but ready for adventure, Wendy is both child and woman, and slowly bridging the gap in her own life. She is quick-witted and can come up with new ways of helping the situation along, often in ways that had never be thought of before.”

**You forgot “questionable taste in  boyfriends”.  But the rest is flattering, so I’ll take it.**


Anna Smith

(Downton Abbey character)

Downton Quiz

“You are Anna Smith, head housemaid of Downton. You are basically the best employee ever. Competent, practical and tough, you can handle anything life throws at you — whether it’s rude colleagues, secretive romantic partners or surprise dead bodies in the workplace. Your kindness and loyalty are to be admired, and that Bates fellow should really recognize what a catch you are.”

**I don’t watch the show (gasp!) but I do know that if I didn’t turn up as Lady Violet, I’m ahead of the game.**


Captain America

(Avenger , take one)

Avenger Quiz

“Defender of liberty and fair play! Drinker of milk! You like to live by the rules and are a straight up person.”

**Um . . . maybe we should try another version of this quiz.  ‘Cause I love archery waaay more than Frisbee golf, and I’m mildly lactose intolerant.**


“Young and filled with energy and excitement you are always the one sent out to explore or do the hard work.”

**Hard work which I’ll try to trick a hobbit into doing, thus getting my whole party captured by trolls and then—wait.
“Young” you said?  Okay.**

Captain America
(Avenger, take two—and please note that I could be taking five)

Avenger Quiz take 2“You are a natural-born leader, even though you carry a heavy heart. Due to your authority, you can be viewed as uptight and a goody-two-shoes, but regardless of what others think, you always do what you believe is right. When things heat up, you’re the voice of reason. And you’re always willing to take one for the team.”

 **Look, if I’m going to be accused of having authority over anything—much speaking the voice of reason, and y’all can stop laughing right now—I wanna be Coulson.**



(Classical Character — female)

“A strong woman, you can achieve almost anything if you put your mind to it. You inspire loyalty and confidence in others and are generous to those in need. However, you can be overly sensitive and find rejection difficult to handle.”

**Not sure I’d be so loyal to my dead husband that I’d kill myself rather than marry again . . . but that rejection thing is spot on.**
Greek Coin

(Classical Character — male)

“You’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders but sometimes you just need to focus on the task at hand and stop moaning! Sometimes your relentless drive can make you seem cold-hearted but you are compassionate and a selfless leader.”

**Hmmm . . . Not bad.**


George Bailey

(Movie Character)

“Your selflessness may keep you from ever realizing your dreams, but you’ll find your life is quite rewarding nonetheless.”

George Bailey

**It doesn’t really worry me that I’m 79% compatible with George Bailey. But it’s slightly disturbing that I’m 75% compatible with Charles Foster “Citizen” Kane.**

Ctizen Kane



(Sci Fi/Fantasy Character)

“A stern yet benevolent organizer who often knows best, your wits are keenly fixed on aiding efforts you deem worthy.”

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

**Oh, sheesh, you mean I’m going to almost ruin my daughter’s happiness by lying to her about the man she loves?
This . . . isn’t good.

But I guess if I didn’t score a Denethor on the parental scale, there’s still hope.**


Pooh Quiz

**Feeling MUCH better now.**



(Shakespeare Character)

Shakespeare Quiz

**Are you kidding me?  No.  Just . . . No.**

Neville Longbottom

“You’re awkward and clumsy and hate being the center of attention. But you’re brave and big-hearted and people can always trust you to help them out in a bad situation.”

Potter Quiz

**NOW, we’re talking.**


Well . . . there are certainly no patterns of self-sacrifice and poor relationship decisions here.


If you’ll excuse me, I have to go talk my avocado into skipping chapter seven of Sodom and Gomorrah . . .

Fozzie Bear



 Wanna play?
Let Me know who you are in the comments!


Images belong to the respective quiz websites, or were located via Wikimedia Commons and are either under public domain or GNU Free Documentation License.