Archive for June, 2011

waiting on the brain to change

June 29, 2011

(Apologies to whoever wrote that song.)

There’s the serendipity of writing.   Sometimes, something just comes to you and drops into your lap.  Sometimes, you do something with it right away.  I’m not going to say it cures or causes writer’s block – because I think that’s a condition associated with a lot of angst and unhappiness.  I’m going to say that I’ve got a lot of ideas, and also a lot of slots waiting for their little *thing* to make it perfect.  Not talking about forcing or not forcing anything.  Just going about one’s business and getting that little gift from the universe.

I’m talking about what happens after you’ve pieced together of bits and waiting for that last piece of the puzzle to come and finish it.  It’s more waiting for the right idea to come along.  Occasionally it happens.

Sometimes, that *thing* sits and waits for you to recognize it.  It’s totally amazing when you realize you had it in you all along – you just had to wake up enough to the possibilities – or time enough to get to that thing.

That’s what makes writing an addictive pleasure to me – feeling my brain working, and the *thing* happens, and it’s like the road (keyboard) is paved with gold.

weekend doings

June 27, 2011

We went to Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, NY this weekend.  It’s a recreation of major sections of the fort – it was nice.   It’s all fairly modern wood – built heavily, so there wasn’t anything the kids could hurt.  (Of course, one had to keep an eye out because 1, they could fall off a battlement, and 2) the huge barrels of rainwater at every corner that they wanted to drink.  Yuck.)   Not very busy, so the kids just ran around like crazy.  It had been raining for the past couple of days, so it was nice to get out.

Chanced upon an Italian bakery – bought 0.5 lbs of cookies.  Big mistake.  Should have bought more.  You know those hard, nasty little cookies people buy from bulk stores and bring in for Christmas (shaped like little pink leaves with chocolate in the middle, or circles with hard little gummy dots of jam in them)?  I was afraid these were going to be like that – all tasteless or actively repulsive, so I got just enough to satisfy Henry’s desire for a couple of every kind.

You know something?  The reason people think about buying those hard little nasty cookies is because the real stuff is so good.  I should have totally bought more.  A little anise taste, sweet but not shocking, and just two bites big, and the chocolate coating was nice dark chocolate.   Moist, not crumbly or damp.  Just right.  I have totally got to taste them before I buy them now – so I can make sure we have enough to make it through the ride home.  (Also makes me realize that my instinct to eschew those damn biglot cookies was right.)

My blog – 1 paragraph on important historical site, 2 paragraphs on cookies.  Yup.  My life right there.

good to know

June 25, 2011
From: Me
Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2011 2:28 PM
To: StrideRite Customer Service,
Subject: old shoe disposal

Hello –

I’m writing about some of the shoes you sell – specifically, the slimers shoes that light up when you step on them.  We purchased them this spring, and my son has loved them, almost literally to pieces.  But I’m worried about the disposal.  Is there any batteries or heavy metals or anything in the shoes to be worried about when throwing them away?
A concerned Mom.
……………………………………………….
Dear Mom,
Thank you for your inquiry.  The shoes can be disposed of in the trash.  There are no hazardous batteries, or metals.
We appreciate your interest in Stride Rite.
Kind Regards,
[redacted]
Consumer Relations
…………………………………………..
I mean, weren’t you also wondering about those kind of shoes?  Although I should have probably asked before I bought the shoes, if I really loved the earth and all.  (Of course, if I really loved the earth, I should be living in a dirt house with wooden blocks strapped to the feet of everyone in my family.)

Bad cupcake

June 24, 2011

I ruined the cupcakes for my son’s school birthday.

Firstly, it takes a LOT of red food coloring to make fire-engine red.  I managed hot pink before I ran out.  Thinking that I could darken the icing a bit, I added some blue.  Mistake.  It made it sort of raspberry.  So there will be no firetruck-like decoration on this cup-cake.

Was I going to throw out the icing and start again? (Do you know me at all?)  Then the answer would be “hell to the no.”

I slathered on that pink icing with my new off-set spatula, attempting to get to the “sheet-cake” like affect of a pull-apart cake.  It must take a ton of icing to do that – there are a lot of gaps.

I also used the wrong kind of recipe – the cupcake I made off the side of the box of powdered chocolate was too moist and delicate.  It sort of tore up on the edges during icing.  I can see why cakes that are really nice-looking are so dry – you want a hard, dry cake to make the icing spread properly.

Sigh. Need to reconsider the whole thing.  (I generally don’t ice cupcakes – I think they’re sweet enough.  So it’s also my inexperience on display.)

Henry loved it though – torn up edges, pink icing and all.  Bless him.  He wanted more after they were all gone.

Edited to add:  They were still good tasting.  Just some of them were particularly unattractive, especially when I consider what I had pictured in my head.

I’ll take that for a dollar

June 23, 2011

I don’t know how I feel about the whole fandom-to-fandom-tribute thing.

What I mean by that is when someone who likes you/your work  (but you know only through the Internet) gives you a gift (a real, physical gift.  Not just a shout-out or dedication of a story or says they’re giving you cookies (which I have done).  It’s the other – where cash money is involved in the transaction somehow.)

Sometimes websites make this easy for you by letting you purchase gifts of subscriptions to ad-less versions of said software (LiveJournal, for one, Deviant Art for another).  Some people very conveniently have links to commercial sites and you can purchase something for them from their wishlist – and that’s great for them.   But it’s not for me.

I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve never gotten anything like that, and I doubt very much that I will get anything like that – in part because it’s just not an option for me on this site, and mostly because I’m not very well-known in fandom – just a small fish in an ocean of fandom, that’s me.

In all honesty, what I want is contact with my reader, other people in the fandom.   I don’t need more stuff.  If there is such gratitude about how something I wrote made you feel, something that you remember – that you’re moved to do something – please just contact me and let me know.  That’s worth so much more than just money or stuff.  I know not everybody is wired up to be able to write, but let’s all remember we’re fans here together.   I’m just a dorky Naruto fan that writes fic as a hobby.  I’m the polar opposite of scary.

(And let’s remember – fanfic is still legal grey territory and I can’t profit in anyway from it.)

test anxiety

June 21, 2011

Had a bad dream last night, related to the training class I’m supposed to be taking this week.  All about being late, or realizing I just missed the class.  Mentally, I’m still in high school, I guess.

like white on….

June 20, 2011

So I haven’t had any cooked white rice in the house the past couple of days.  It’s weird.   I don’t feel quite like I have enough in the fridge if I don’t have rice on hand.  I don’t know if it’s an identity thing or what.  Let’s not get into how I might feel should I not have a 40 lb sack in the pantry ready to go – it doesn’t bear thinking about.  (Shudders fearfully.)

I like having rice in the house – you know, in case I have an alien life form crash land in the backyard and immediately demand refined carbs or they will invade.  Sure, we’ve got English muffins – but heavens above – if the alien wants to know what most of the earth eats, I will present rice to it.  No offense, English muffin, but geez.  Your quirky nooks and crannies are nothing to the fluffy whiteness of well-cooked rice.  Side order of kimchee or beansprouts for bonus points.

That’s right.  I said it.  In my head, Korean food will stave off alien invasion and create intergalactic friendship.  Yeah.  You got something else, international cuisine?

Good things about having children: Legos

June 19, 2011

I need to get some things off my chest about Legos.

1.  Legos are really neat to play with, actually.  Just that everything you make looks like a brick.

2.  When did they start coming out with colors beyond the primary colors?  I realized there’s pink in there recently.  And when did those little round pieces (clear and solid colored both) start getting added?  And girl figures?  What?

3.  I’m a little cheesed that hair on the little Lego figure counts as a piece.  Like you could really use that as something else.  I just like the regular little bricks.

4.  Lego math: 0.5 box + 0.5 box < 1.0 box of bricks.  How does that happen?

5.  W really remembers playing with them – me, not so much.  I’m sure we had them around – I just don’t remember.  I talked to a couple of other women friends about this, and the experience is similar.

6.  Buying legos is pricey – man!  I don’t think I ever realized this – because you always need more than one set.  Always, especially as sets become more and more specialized (You can only made one thing out of a $80 set?  Really?  C’mon!).

7.  And cleaning – make sure you get every one – because stepping on them – you’re going to be hurting for a bit.  It is a shock, how much those little squares make you go “OW!.”

Edited: to add a few bits and to clarify a sentence – I posted a little too quickly.

pull apart cake

June 17, 2011

Henry loves talking about who he is going to invite and uninvite to his birthday party.  He’s been doing it for months now – but it really is speeding up.  Bowling party is looking likely.  Or, if I have my way, a bunch of cousins will go bowling, and then we go back to my mother’s house and have cake – in September.

And I’ve got to figure out how to make a birthday cake/cupcake thing for Henry’s very early party at school next week.  I’m thinking cupcakes that are assembled to make a picture across their tops, aka pull apart cakes.   His most coherent request was of a firetruck.

W was very analytical about the whole thing – “think about it as if it were in 8 bits, where a bit=one cupcake=one color.”  Then he revised.  “16 bits, where each cupcake=4 corners of color.”  Nerd.

Me,  I’m still thinking.  I’m going to need a template, and some kind of reference picture (no way am I winging this).   Maybe some straight pretzels as the ladder on the side.   And I’ve got to get a box to transport the whole thing in.  Kind of a hassle, really.  I need to go buy that stuff today, which is why I’m mentioning it.  (Didn’t mean to turn this into my List of Things to Get.)

Normally, I wouldn’t bother, and go straight for the plain cupcake, but it does mean something to him, and this doesn’t seem super hard, and hell, he’s been asking for a long time.  I’m thinking of it as a challenge.

And even if it looks terrible, the kids are still going to eat it.  Who’s going to say no to chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing?  Nobody, that’s who.

love and writing

June 16, 2011

When W and I started dating (a million years ago) and I came out of the closet as a writer, he was pretty understanding.  It was a bigger deal to me to tell somebody, honestly.  Because I like writing, but it feels selfish.  (“I love you, now go away because I’m doing something really important to me that you’re never going to see.”) Maybe it’s something that’s okay for him because he was essentially a single child (much older sibs) and a guy who was always okay with his own hobbies.

To be honest,  I’m shit for writing anything of length.  And I just like plot.  Plotty plotty plotty.  But there is no way I could make a living at this – and neither could I give it up.  Hard to justify, really.

He recently mentioned this conversation, which I had forgotten, to indicate that fanfic seemed like a good outlet for this need, but as a medium is accepting of my limitations.  It was sort of nice that he remembered.

(Writing was something I did as a kid, and then put away.  When I think about it, I really wonder what the hell I was doing for a decade (with all the time I had BC (Before Children) because I could really do with it now).  I wrote a bunch of beginnings of novels that didn’t go anywhere, for the most part.   This is where I really figured out that I tend not to finish stuff, and it’s really discouraging.  Fanfic, and the audience it provides, has helped me over some of that and figure out more of my process.)

Then the other day, I was picking at an original science fiction short story.  W wanted to know the details – he reads sci-fi, he’d be open to the plot.  So I told him.  He asked me if I knew much of it was a huge trope, which I did.  (I have long resigned myself to the concept that nothing is original but presentation.)  But he thought it could work.  Which is nice. He then told me that he really doesn’t like short stories.  So I guess I can’t ask him to be a reader.