Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter is Generally Cold

I guess it's easy to see why the winter holidays are so popular. A couple or five thousand years ago the winters must have seemed even longer and darker since there was a very real chance you wouldn't survive them.

So, sodding the whole 'Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam' aspect of the holidays for the moment, what do they mean? It's cold, nothing's growing, and it's daaaaaaaaaaaark outside. A feasting tradition was long established before Christianity cobbled Christmas onto the winter solstice. When we slaughtered our Tofurkey at midwinter (after all, everything you didn't kill, you had to feed!) most of us didn't like to watch the people down the street starve and freeze to death. When days were at their darkest and Spring seemed an impossible thing, we tripped down the road with a tuna casserole. (I mean that metaphorically. In my case it would be a vegi-lasagna.)

What I'm getting at is that calling a winter Geschenkschlacht* 'Christmas' seems counterintuitive. It's just not possible that no one thought of giving presents in midwinter till 2000 years ago. When times are hard, we throw bread and garlic fried tofu at each other in all affection. Right? Because if that wasn't the case, we wouldn't have even survived till 2000 years ago. So I want a new word. Not Christmas, not Chanukah, or any of those others- yes, fine; you can keep them as well, but they all make me uneasy. Somehow each one implies (maybe it's only inside my squidgy little head) but each one implies that only those people practicing that religion are kind and good-hearted enough to lend a hand in the mid-winter when times are hard. This is what I object to. "Winter Is Crap, So Let Us Give Each Other Presents" doesn't lend itself to good acronyms.

So, Bloglodytes? Who's got a good name for it? Anybody?

*(love that word! It literally means 'gift-battle.' I envision it a bit like a food fight only with everything wrapped and less messy.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Three Minutes of Your Weekend

are about to be sucked into a vortex, never to be seen again, unredeemable, etc., etc., but in return I give you How to Embarrass Mum and Dad.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Childhood Favourites of Mother(Re) as a Kid

Inspired by Prickles (who seems to have caught the virus from JJdeBenedictus) and since I have nothing else appropriately retro to post for retro week, (unless you feel like having my entire collection of GTP entries inflicted on you,) I thought I'd post something inappropriately retro.

The fun thing about this song is I have actually seen it performed live. I was in fourth grade when this weird man with an insane beard who must have been really, really old came and sang for us (in 1978) and I never forgot it. I checked I Eat Kids out of the public library again and again, and whatever else they had by good old "Barry Louis Polar Bear," as he is now known in our house. When I had kids, his albums were out of print (or whatever albums are out of.) I googled him and voila! He said they've been re-recorded and I bought the new album. The fun bit is, he turned out to not be as ancient as he appeared to my 10 year old self. He's only 14 years older than me, and there are only a couple of years separating our kids in age. And, after several e-mail exchanges concerning nostalgia and availability of records and whatnot, I can also say, he's a really nice guy.

Imagine my surprise and delight when he turned up as the theme song for Juno! (Which I haven't managed to see yet, by the bye.)

Actually, my favorite favorite is "I Need You Like a Donut Needs a Hole," but I couldn't find it on youtube.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bloglodyte Reonion

At the good natured cactorial proddings of the cute, fluffy, undangerous Paca, I am moved to write the following:

It is true that we write for ourselves. We would write even if no one were reading it. In fact, many of us did, blogging along with no perceivable audience for months on end, writing our little stories, sending them out, and listening for that distant and inevitable "kapwing." (Actually, I want to design a T-shirt like that for Cafepress or Threadless or one o'them- a manuscript flying across the shirt with the word "kapwing" written under it. "Kapwing" is a nice word. I really like that word.) Errrm... ..

What was I blogging about? Oh, yes; community. Yes yes! We are good little writers and would write on faithfully into the vacuum, but! But but but! It is so much more rewarding if other people will tell you it's crap so you don't have to do it yourself all the time. No one is better at telling you, in the nicest and most productive manner possible, than the Evil Editor. I can't remember how I found EE. That's the sad truth. I was strung out on rejection slips, looking for ways to better myself without leaving the house (am I the only one who likes to stay in her Dr Denton's all day?) and so I started, shyly, putting in my cartoon captions, my less than 50 words for the Guess The Plots, just to get some response, even if it was only a single comment. Occasionally I even made one. I lurked around reading the blogs of the other minions, when all that was no longer enough, I. I. This is hard, you know...

i did a writing exercise.

Yes, it's true. But being the chicken hearted pathetico that I am, I didn't have the guts till March, 2009.
It was a lovely challenge. Write a rejection letter! Here's what I wrote:

Dear Ms. Wildesel:
We regret to inform you we will not be needing your services as a teacher at the Townham Primary School again next year. While we freely admit it was our mistake to believe your were using 'humour' when you answered the question 'What do you like most about working with small children?' with 'crushing their fragile little egos,' we do not feel legally or ethically bound to extend your employment. In addition, we would recommend that if anyone in the future is desperate enough to entrust you with another school class, it may be a good idea to check which students can swim before planning an outing to Bottomless Lake. Also, please familiarize yourself with the difference between 'dyslexia' and 'anorexia' for the good of all mankind.
We appreciate your application to renew employment at our school, but unanimously agree that 'Gimme the job please because I need to pay for a new snowboard' is not a good pitch. If, after due consideration, you decide you would like to pursue employment with us, we feel it is our duty to inform you that we have land mines in the teacher's parking lot with your name on them.


Silvia Peabody, Principal and The Teachers and Staff of Townham Primary School, including the Custodial Staff
The School Board
Every Single Student except Cameron 'I Embrace the Darkness' Smith
Townham Hospital Medical Personnel (and Custodial Staff)
The Townham Ladies Auxiliary
And my dog, Fluffy, and his remaining three legs.

It's been one long, hedonistic verbfest since then. Be sure to check out the other retrospective posts from Bloglodytes:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Not Even a Week,

have we had our new family members, and already they're part of us.
Peppercorn and Manderinli

Peppercorn is a little smaller, but much quicker off the mark.  Manderinli is the big brother, but in spite of his slight size advantage, they're evenly matched for games of "search and annoy."

It's fun discovering their personalities.  We have a built in cupboard in the corner of the kitchen- they come up through the bottom and sleep in there sometimes.  Don't know why, they seem to feel safe here and never run away from us or even visitors that they don't know.  They just seem to like it there.  Maybe I can make a photograph before they get too big.  We've ordered a biggish cat jungle gym/scratching post for them to inhabit during the winter, until we let them out in the spring.  Perhaps it will keep them off the Christmas tree.  Ha.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Even Lighter Entertainment

It's Monday.
On the off chance you're looking for a way to put off real work for another five minutes, consider clicking here. My second publication, ever! I feel like such a big kid now.

And check back later this week for reports about the new feline family members!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Little Light Entertainment

Hello Bloglodytes. I promised you the other day that we would play a game, but I'm not sure it will be much of a challenge. Here's the poop: the unthinkable has happened, someone has PAID me money for one of my stories. So click here, and try to figure out which bit o' flash is mine.

If this turns out to be harder than I think it is, or if you have the patience of a two-year-old like yours truly, click here.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Prima designed the pumpkin on the bottom- no idea where she got the idea.  Isn't she amazing?  The top one belongs to ghosty boy; he gets one every year.

I think it's rather sad that Halloween is not really celebrated in Switzerland.
Unlike the winter holidays, when people tended to retreat to their immediate or extended families, I remember Halloween being a time when everybody went out and rang doorbells, and lots of lonely people in my neighbourhood seemed to really look forward to it.  Shy people could interact and be part of the community in a non-committal, non-threatening, peripheral kind of way.  I used to wonder why the old ladies on my street seemed so thrilled when we rang the doorbell.  As a kid I couldn't see what was in it for them.  We came and took their candy away!  I remember thinking, "What crazy old ladies!  They can buy a whole bag of mini-Mars Bars, and then they give them away!  They should just not answer the door, and eat all the goodies!"  I like to think I've changed a bit...

Happy Halloween, everybody.  It's the day we all give our ghosties an extra hug.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

We All Appreciate a Nice Rejection

I just thought I'd pass this story along. It's called "Amid the Words of War," and was written by Cat Rambo, who sent me my favourite rejection. I'm not being cheeky here, I'm dead serious. I realise that editors can't accept everything, and one that can say NO in a way that doesn't leave you demoralized and suicidal is an asset to the writing world.
All that and she can write too.
So have a look if you have some free time.

Also; tune in on November 1st. We're going to play a little game :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fluffy Things are Afoot

You may remember posts about our cat, who went out in June and didn't come back. We hope she has simply wandered off with some smooth-talking tomcat to live the high life. Be that as it may, we miss her fuzzitude enormously, feline fuzzitude in general, really, so we thought we'd give it one more go. If these two wander off, that'll be all folks, because we can stand only so much heartbreak. But one last try.

So the orange one on the top there has clearly mastered the art of being cute, and will probably be named 'Manderinli,' which means 'little manderine orange.' The dark one is a bit trickier. We have a long and glorious tradition of naming our cats after edible things but all we've come up with so far is 'Treacle,' 'Molasses,' 'Sorghum'... you get the idea. Someone suggested 'Burnt Toast,' and we could call her 'Burnie,' but that got dropped fairly quickly. Jaffa Cake's been done, of course. Any ideas?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday, Monday.

Hi Bloglodytes.
Time for that holiday debriefing I promised you, along with some whining about the weather.

Taking my holiday goals point by point:

1. This one was complicated. Did I
-recharge my writing bats
-sit in cafés
-check books out of libraries
-oil my grey cells with donuts
all in English? Yes and no. Three weeks sounded like such a long time, but family and friends soaked up so much of it (in a good way) that I did not get any time alone to speak of. See number ten. I also hardly had anytime to read- I didn't even finish the one book I brought with me for the flight over. I did however, get donuts.
2. Did I check out my sis-in-law's belly? Yes! This is a fantastic belly, and, rumour has it, crammed with Girl Power, and bigbro took us to the clinic where he works to show us an ultrasound. Even grey and pixalated, she's a cutie.
3. My old college buddy, The Ped, is still totally silly. Husband show's signs of being unworthy (doesn't think Monty Python is funny) but is otherwise a nice guy. Not my call.
4. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! Old Man With Beard fucking shaved! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! Other than that, we had fun, but isn't it strong, this desire to have your childhood fixtures not change? Grow it back! Grow it back!
5. Shop. Did that. Should have taken a picture of it all, but didn't think to. What did I buy? Why, what any normal person would buy; 112 mechanical pencils, Halloweeny stuff since it's so hard to get over here, lots of word games in English, Candy Corn, fancy schmancy M&Ms (another thing I can't get over here,) another box of Wilton's food coloring so I can make more cakes like this, and some other bits and bobs, such as a liquid soap dispenser in the shape of the Toy Story aliens, T-shirts for the kids...
6. Yes, I ate donuts and cakes. For about one week I was royally sick of them but now I miss them already. Also, on another, totally unrelated note, some wiseass has let air out of the giant inflatable ball I use as a chair in my office while I was away. I know this because I am much lower to the ground.
7. Ethnic food, ordered in English: Mexican, Vietnamese (cooked by my friend, yummy!) Indian, Asian Fusion, Middle Eastern, and lots of faves (Clausen chilled dills, anyone?) from the supermarket.
8. Hiking. Well. Since Old Man With Beard Who Messed With My Head And Shaved (see number 4) came along, we were limited. We did go to the swamp, though.

9. Oh, bugger. Totally forgot to teach my nephews how to burp. Taught them a few curse words, apparently, which didn't go over too well, although apparently unlimited violence is OK, as long as we're all clear on who the 'bad' guy is. Go figure.
10. Hide when it's time to come home. I didn't do this. As mentioned in number three, I had very little time to myself. Even though I tend to be an early riser, since we were usually either staying in a house full of people or sharing (all five of us) a hotel room, I was kind of happy to get back to my little office (see the view here (top photo)) and an unshared computer. Yes, I'm a spoiled brat. You love me anyway?

It was a fun trip. The weather was mostly very agreeable. Listen to me; I'm using words like agreeable. I'm feeling a bit flat. I think it is just simply the case, that when you share holiday time with friends and family, you have to find activities that suit everyone, so you can't cut loose as much. Perhaps that's it. Anyway, though I had fun, I have the feeling now that I did not manage to sink my teeth into this holiday the way I had planned. Is that it? Hmmm... I have to let this feeling percolate a bit more... Anyway, I'm writing again, so that's got to be good.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


More to come, Bloglodytes, I promise, but I have failed utterly to get a decent night's sleep since I got back, plus I have a Koala (totally justified, I add) up my butt, so this is all you get for now.  Even so, these donuts are pretty righteous, aren't they?  Go on! Help yourselves!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vacaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaation! (AKA, holiday)

I'm a total deadbeat, I know.  Truth is, I just hit sudden burnout about two weeks ago.  I've been over to EE's maybe twice, haven't hardly checked duotrope at all, and haven't written anything.  Don't know why, don't care much, but I know from experience that it's temporary burnout and I hope to be my frolicky, verbose old self when I get back from holiday.  Yes, that's right, bloglodytes, I'm going on hols for three whole weeks.  During these three weeks I will:

1. Recharge my writing bats.  I will sit in cafés (if my kids let me :) and listen to bits of dialog in English, check books out of libraries in English, and oil my grey cells with donuts, in English.  
2. Listen to my sis-in-law's belly and see if anybody says anything (in English).
3. Visit my bestest friend from college and make damn sure she's still totally silly.  Adjust her husbands silly-bone, if necessary, until he's worthy of her.  
4.  Visit the Old Man With The Beard, aka, Dad.  He only speaks English.
5.  Shop!  Shop shop shop!  Shooooooooooooooooooooooop!  Did I mention shop?
6  Eat donuts and cakes with salt in them!  This is the downfall of continental baking.  They don't put that pinch of salt in, and I CAN'T TASTE A FUCKING THING.  
7.  Eat lots of ethnic food.  Order it all in English.
8.  Go hiking to burn off said donuts, cake and food.  Talk to trees in English, and know that they understand.
9.  Teach my nephews how to burp properly.  In English.
10.  Hide when it's time to come home again.  ;)

I'll be around til the end of next week, packing and buying prezzies and doing laundry, but after that I won't be back til mid-October.  :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Attention All Editors:

Next one to tell my how wonderful my story is and then reject it gets a dozen donuts up the wazoo. You have been warned.

(PS, since using real donuts would be a tragic waste, I'll be using a gene manipulated donut-shaped variety of cactus.)

Friday, August 13, 2010


Last weekend we went to the Gnomengarten. It's a sculpture garden with the most fantastic things, as well as the most fantastic person, Jürg Ernst.

The offspring liked this top one because the bookworms are so cute. we liked them all, but I am a sucker for anything that includes duckweed. Don't know why. It was a lovely day!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Just a Bit of Fun

Maybe I'm the last one to see this and you've all read it already, but I thought it was worth linking to this rejection letter.

Be sure to scroll down and read the breathtaking scenes the blogger posts to illustrate just what a loss this was to Harlequin.

(Joel Stickley, eat your heart out!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

State of the Nation

So here's the poop:

I've been over what has become known as "The Fucking Fairy Story" so many times it literally giveth me a headache. I wonder if someone has written a paper on this phenomenon, let's call it the "Bruised Synapse Phenomenon." Like someone hitting the same key on the piano over and over and over.... Don't get me wrong, I still love the story, but after six rejections, I've tweaked and revised it soooooooo often, it's gone numb. You know what I'm talking about, don't you, bloglodytes? I mean, I try to have a read-through and I hear Terry Jones's voice screaming "Not this record! Not this record!"

What? I'm making even less sense than usual today? Well. Rejection makes me a bit loopy. Especially meanypants ones where the editor is foul and condescending because I was ignorant enough not to know that etiquette dictates that I wait double the stated response time to query. Is this really true? I'll admit, I'm still relatively new to this game, so I'd truly love to hear from you all. Anyway, their estimated RT was 60 days, Duotrope had them averaging 42, and it had been 90. Was I really supposed to wait 120 days?

The fun part is that when it came to actual feedback (and I'm smart enough not to look it in the mouth, even if it comes in a cranky package) her complaints were almost all limited to mechanics- which I admit may have been a bit sloppy- standard typing in the US calls for two spaces after a period, over here it's one, so I'm horribly inconsistent. Also, she complained about my not-standard-American spelling of a word. I was grateful for this, because when I looked it up, I discovered that it indeed was standard American spelling, but my character is Irish and they tend to follow British spelling rules, so even though her snark was unjustified, she did me a favour. Or favor. She also complained about a boggy beginning, which I totally agreed with. I had added a rather explanatory paragraph to satisfy someone else who didn't know anything about fairies, or mounds, or Ireland, but I never liked it. So, at the end of the day, it was valuable feedback.

Actually, The whole thing wouldn't have left such a bad taste in my mouth if it weren't for her famous and well-published tendency to blacklist anyone who has the audacity to make simultaneous submissions in her court.

On a completely different note:
They're tearing up the street in front of my lovely garden shed writing space! *pout*
What an awful racket! Nevermind. I'm going to try and finish the story I was working on about the strange little boy, before the Koala gets me.

Happy Writing.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Call for Donuts

Well, thanks to Fairy Hedgehog and The Man With the Beard I now have donuts on my blog. Anyone out there having trouble reading it? It didn't seem to want to let me change the default colour of the text- the template wants it white, and while some templates let you change, this one didn't. So the background is Puce. We love puce, don't we? Yes, I can hear you nodding.

(ok, update: I did figure out how to change the text colour (why do they list that in a different place for every template? silly.) but I'm kind of getting used to the puce. But seriously, is anyone finding it hard on the eyes?)

Anyway, I was wondering if any of you out there have access to large numbers of beautifully decorated donuts and would be willing to take a photograph of them. I nicked this photograph from somewhere on the web as a temporary measure, and it will probably be autumn before I get to donut-land. Anybody good at photography?

Of course, if you'd just like to send me a couple dozen by express mail, I could take the pics myself, save you the trouble...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Does anybody know when blogger is going to allow us to upload our own backgrounds?  I'm still waiting for a picture of donuts...


Let's just suppose I'm in despair.  Does Clarion do a mid-life crises special?  Should I just get a tattoo, like some people?  I could just change the blog title to "Will Whine for Free."

Really, I don't know what I'm complaining about, exactly.  Nothing's really wrong, I still have a better life than, say, 90% of the planet, socio-economically speaking, and yet there is something lacking.  I have blogged about the lack of real-life writer buddies a lot (I'm too lazy to look for the links, though) and try as I might, I still can't come up with any solution that doesn't involve leaving this country.  Don't get me wrong, Bloglodytes- I love you guys.  But there's just nothing like someone who lives 10 minutes away threatening to come and bludgeon you with a 400g block of Switzerland's Finest if you dangle one more sodding preposition or switch pov twice on the same page.  Then there's the warm fuzzy feeling of being able to offer such supportive bludgeoning services in return.  I'm not asking for solutions to this problem- it's pretty insoluble unless Kelly Link or Neil Gaiman moves in down the road (Ah, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!) but I just need to whine.  We now return to our regularly scheduled sommer.

Which includes:
1) Wishing my cat would come home :(
2) Teaching Prima all the math and English her pos teachers have failed to teach her over the last few years so she can have a good start in the new school.
3) Trying to keep Middlekid and Thirdling from killing each other- now that Middlekid is going to the upper school, puberty/sibling rivalry seems to be in overdrive.
4) Trying NOT to declare Switzerland to be the most boring country on the planet.  Yes, the Alps are gorgeous, now GET OVER IT, already, and realise that Heidi makes lousy company!
5) Going to visit this guy, who should be cloned and seeded all over Switzerland, because he makes great company.

Sorry to be so grumpy in such fine weather, Bloglodytes.  Must be the donut deficiency talking...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I Feel Like a Washcloth Someone Left on the Motorway

I'm feeling a bit wrung out and run over. Maybe there should be hyphens in those. I'm too kaput to check, that's how bad it is. Buffy the bushy-tailed rodent would be angry and I don't blame her (see? see? that should be 'wouldn't' not 'don't'!)

Oh, nevermind.

Hi Robin, and everybody else. The rest of the exchange thing went ok. It was frustrating sometimes because it was clear that Randy was bored, but the French kids seemed to have been trained (Prima heard this from other kids in class) never to say what they want so we spent a week guessing. Prima spent a week in France, with Randy's five year old sister wrapped around her leg. The little girl cried when she left. Prima had a great time with her French family and some fun with her class but...

We are changing schools again. I know there must be some nice kids in her class, and I know that Prima has developed a rather defensive, hedgehog like manner (no offense, FHH; you are the softest and cuddliest of hedgehogs except when action is called for) so the kids in her class are only partly to blame. The defensiveness puts a lot of kids off, and we are trying to fix this. Not easy to teach natural self-confidence to a thirteen year old- since I have zip myself. But I've had it with the few spoiled alpha rich kids that seem to set the tone for everyone, and from the few parents meetings we've had. Well... I would probably feel differently if I got to know them better, but at first glance, my instinct is to avoid them like the plague.

Anyway, there is a list of French to be learned for the new school (haven't looked yet to see how much they overlapped), and we need to see if she is at the same place in math, so it will be a busy summer (six weeks instead of five this year, though, which is good). Sorry, bloglodytes, I know I'm rambling awfully, but my head feels like a coconut with a bicycle pump hooked up to it. A couple more notes before I drag myself out to the garden shed to write:

1. Our cat is missing. This is really putting a damper on our summer fun. She's not fixed so we're desperately hoping she just out having a good time and will come home full of kittens, but we fear the worst. It's been more than a week.

2. My daughter got a 4.5 in English. For those of you familiar with letter grades, that's about a C. For a native English speaker, this is ludicrous. The teacher said she graded her harder and gave her different tasks because she is a native English speaker, but you don't give a kid who already knows algebra trigonometry to do and then give them a crappy algebra grade if they can't hack the trig, right? I mean, to the rest of the world, it just looks like she got a terrible grade in the first year of English as a foreign language. Won't miss the English teacher, that's for sure. For the birds, this is. Like Yoda, I sound. Donut, I need.

3. Happy Independance Day, Americanskis out there!

Now don't just sit there- go write something. (Preferably in the comment trail ;)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

French Kid Update

Le French Kid, AKA Randy the Unpronounceable, has arrived. We have made the following observations:

1) He folds his dirty laundry.
2) He speaks three words of German. We are still trying to figure out which three.
3) He's very shy, and mumbles when he talks (which is rare enough). He only mumbles in French.
4) In the event that the subject is brought to smile, (we have only managed to elicit this phenomenon once) he has killer dimples.

Even though we are supposed to speak German to him, Bearded One took pity on him and tried to speak to him in French at dinner last night; the kid is 12 and it was a 10 hour bus ride. (Their driver got lost and wound up at the Hospital. Prima's teacher went to rescue them and guide them to the school. It was eight by the time they arrived back at our house.) Anyway, Randy did not seem to understand Bearded One's French, which is scary because Bearded one had nine years of French in school and worked in the French speaking part of Switzerland for two years speaking what he had always assumed was French.

Will keep you bloglodytes posted on Randy's progress. Perhaps we can get him to fling his dirty socks at the laundry basket like a normal kid by the time he leaves.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Junior Polyglots and Fun with Babel Fish.

We live in the German speaking part of Switzerland. Prima's school has come up with a mad scheme to truck a bus load of kids over from France for a week and deposit one in our house. We'll call him... ok, lets call him Randy. He seems like a nice kid. Prima wrote to him (in French) to ask him what he wants to do when he's here. He wrote back in German. Any senior polyglots out there?

"Das Schokoladenwerk werde wirklich sein, weil wir dorthin mit der Klasse nicht gehen. Sonst für dich, werde du gern haben, nach Paris zu gehen, wenn du dort noch, nicht zu gehen. Wenn du noch nicht kennst, ist das nicht ernst, wir werden sehen, wenn du kommen wirst. Auf Wiedersehen und in in ein in den Wochen."

So. This doesn't entirely make sense. We decided to run it through Babel Fish and make it French again to see if it made more sense:

"Le travail de chocolat sera vrai, parce que nous n'allons pas là avec la classe. D'ailleurs, pour te, tu auras volontiers aller à Paris, si tu là encore ne pas aller pas. Si tu ne connais pas encore, ce n'est pas sérieux, nous devient voit, si tu viendras. Sur revoir et dans les semaines."

Prima claims it makes more sense this way, but I don't understand a word of French, so we ran it through again:

"The chocolate work will be true, because us n' let us not go there with the class. D' elsewhere, for you, you will have readily to go to Paris, if you still not to go there not. If you do not know yet, this n' is not serious, becomes us sees, if you will come. On re-examining and in the weeks. "

This is going to be an interesting week. Reckon Randy talks as good as he writes?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Towel Day!

Ok, everybody. It's towel day, and in honor of a great man who died much too early and suddenly, I urge you to grab a towel and knock back a few pan-galactic gargle blasters. If you can't find any, try tequila and lemonade. Man with beard is, alas, not on the continent this week, but Thirdling has the right spirit, doing her homework.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Time to Dry Up a Bit

I don't have much to say. I would like to complain about the weather, but I find that topic very depressing, plus the picture speaks for itself, I think.

So, in an effort to dry things off, I would like to remind all interested parties that YOU HAVE ONE WEEK TO FIND YOUR TOWEL! Yes, in honour of the late Douglas Adams, May 25th is once again Towel Day. We're with you, Douglas.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chicklit At Its Headlocking Best

Ok, I have to admit, I totally nicked this from Elizabeth Dulemba.  But it's too good not to pass on.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kids in the Shed

The offspring think it's cool. Middlekid said, "Mommy, it's good that you're writing in the shed now. You can just wad them up and throw them straight into the old trash can like they do on TV." Sometimes kids are funniest when they don't realise the full implications of what they are saying. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Proactive! (No, I don't mean that yogurt that makes sure you poop regularly.)

Maybe it's the kids being home, or the pollen, or fill in the blank, but in any case, I've haven't written more than 1000 words in the last two weeks.  The clouds of volcanic ash have ruined my plans to slither off undetected to the Faroe Islands.  Since they were purely fantasy anyway (my plans, not the clouds of volcanic ash) this is perhaps all for the best.  So what to do?  I just don't seem to be getting any work done at my desk, and renting a room close-bye hasn't worked out.  That leaves- yes:

The Garden Shed.
The mess.
The new space!

Prima is still off today, but Thirdling and Middlekid are back to school, so I tried out my new space.  No phone, no computer, nothing.  (Also no heat, so this is likely to be a summer thing)  For the most part, I'm pleased.  There were some minor hitches today - the cat thinks trotting around on the roof while I'm inside trying to concentrate is fun, and they decided to clean out the drainage sewer in the street right next to it, which made so much noise it literally rattled the shed, but these are small things.  And I even wrote a couple of pages!  So, we'll see what comes of it.

Take that, all you evil rejections! 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sicker Still

I said I was sick of blogging about my "almosts" and I am.  But I can't blog about my writing because I haven't really been doing any.  Spring holidays here, so Thirdling and Middlekid are home; Prima will be home as of next week for two weeks, and I find it impossible to work with them around.  Looks like I'm headed for perma-smack. But just because I need the sympathy, a poem rejection:

"I really like this, except that this part completely stalls out, for me:"
(insert lines editor didn't like)

Which made me laugh, in a scary, pathologically dangerous sort of way, because of a comment from the teacher of the writing class I took last fall. (Teacher is an ed. ass. for BIGNAME FANCY MAG):

"I really like that section towards the end:"
(insert same lines)

(deep breath)


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Reproduction Day!

Ah, spring. I love Easter. The eggs, the bunnies, the little sheepies. Here are a few pictures from the frivolities, complete with frog-shaped breakfast rolls.
Have an excellent Easter, bloglodytes, whatever you are celebrating today. :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ye olde spaghetti

Just a bit of history, since this place is only a few hours from here.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Ok. I'm sure you're all sick of hearing about my formless rejections, I'm sick of telling you all how close I've come, it's all quite depressing, and we can't drink tequila all the time, can we? So for a complete change of pace here is a picture I took on Saturday.
Where was I? Any guesses?

Friday, March 19, 2010


Pronounced 'rotted,' of course, and short for 'rejection of the day.'

Reads in part:

"...but we've decided not to accept it for publication. I've never seen anything quite like this (and I mean that in a good way): an interesting mix of modern and traditional, of pragmatism and tattered magic. But..."
As rejections go, very nice, helpful (he goes on to say what didn't work for him, and I'm not taking that for granted- it was really nice that he took the time, and I appreciate it) but: (it's those bloody 'buts' again!)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cat Post

Jaffa Cake had her first taste of freedom yesterday. She sniffed around, checked out a nice Japanese maple, and then for some unknown reason, went straight up the tallest tree in the garden. Then she meowed. Unfortunately, this tree is also the one with this rosebush in it. Evil, evil, evil thing. Instead of climbing down the tree, she decided to head for the balcony (dark lump at right of picture) via the rose bush. I think she regretted it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The (Fairy) Hedgehog Handbag

There you go, FHH. Isn't it a wonderland? Looks like a happy place to me!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Round Yellow Omens

Personally, I think I've been paying this blog far too much attention lately for my own good; I should be writing *more* stuff that editors will praise but reject anyway. But for those of you (none of *my* faithfull bloglodytes, I'm sure!) that are looking for distraction, I can't help Connecting this video with this story in my head. View, read, and be enlightened. Did I say enlightened? I meant abreviated. No! Ummmmm.... Anaesthetised! No.


Exultant? That sounds good. So click on the links.

Ok. Now I *am* Thankful.

Form Rejection this morning.


I have two more serious hopefuls that I hope to hear from by the end of the month. Stand by with donuts, Bloglodytes. This could get ugly.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I should be thankful, but


"This piece is not quite right for our next issue, but please keep us in mind for future submissions. We would love to see more of your work."

another fourth place in the Olympics for me! Erk! Mmmmmpf. Nnnnnngak!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Inside the Rainbow

Thirdling goes in for the kill :)

Makes me want to go make more, really. At the moment it's more immediately rewarding than writing. Delayed gratification isn't good for people with my attention span. Maybe I should just eat the monitor.
I suck so bad at writing lately that today I resorted to making a list of 101 things that there are roughly 101 of. Or not. Or maybe I just wish. Or things I wish there weren't. Don't read this list. Go write. You're wasting your time, I'm telling you, because I don't even know what some of these things mean.
1. 101 years of solitude (how long it would take me to write a novel)
2. 101 donuts
3. 101 kids (yours? mine? no clue why I wrote this.)
4. 101 dominoes
5. 101 oak trees in a circle. They are all 101 years old.
6. 101 gusts of wind to knock down the neighbour's annoying (i.e., sunblocking) tree. The gusts are all 101 kmh.
7. 101 bras tried on to find one that fits
8. 101 children dying of cancer today
9. 101 layers of dirt over a fossilized dinosaur egg.
10. 101 pussywillow buds on the tree outside
11. 101 rejections
12. 101 hairs to stop up the bathtub drain
13. 101 UFO sightings
14. 101 kilograms of cocaine intercepted at the border
15. 101 thorns on the rose cane in front of my office window
16. 101 orgasms (in how long? that's the question)
17. 101 cups of tea in a month
18. 101 franks to buy Prima a party dress for the school ball
19. 101 lines of poetry
20. 101 days waiting for my rejection
21. 101 raisons
22. 101 test taken my final year of college (really? who counted? who cares? I write strange things.)
23. 101 men who came and went that I would have liked to talk to but was too shy when I traveled Europe 20 years ago.
24. 101 drawings stacked in my cupboard
25. 101 rocks brought up from the river
26. 101 cookies given away at christmas
27. 101 heartbeats per minute in a newborn
28. 101 missed heartbeats when my kids scare me to death
29. 101 blank notebooks, because I am mentally ill and can't stop buying them.
30. 101 teacups, see #29
31. 101 mugs, see #29
32. 101 cm of snow would be 101 too many
33. 101 degrees F would be just right, absolutely, mindbogglingly perfect, if it were just about to rain. Good. Now, keep it like that.
34. 101 links of chain, soldered into place to make a sculpture
35. 101 steps to get to M's house
36. 101 days pregnant with my boy, give or take. give.
37. 101 years to get over it
38. "101 ways to start a fight, by some Irish gentleman whose name eludes me."
39. 101 pages of nonsense written for every publishable page.
40. 101 years old by the time I die, at least. I hope.
41. 101 times I bursh my teeth on Sundays in a year. Roughly.
42. 101 times I check Duotrope everday.
43. 101 visits to a physiotherapist is what it would take to straighten my kinked neck out, at least.
44. 101 days of snow. that's how it feels.
45. 101 ignored prayers
46. 101 socks to sort
47. 101 bills paid this year
48. 101 braids on my sister-in-law's head
49. 101 annoying writing prompts (and this isn't even one of them. perhaps I should give them a try...)
50. 101 recipes for cake
51. 101 sighs, I'm only half way through
52. 101 pounds to make a supermodel
53. 101 hours worth of gardening that needs to be done
54. 101 chocolates in a big tin
55. 101 guests at the last party I didn't want to go to. zzzzzzzzzz.......
56. 101 slugs and snails in the garden. (should I say slugcicles...)
57. 101 times a year we have pizza. feels like.
58. 101 lies I tell.
59. 101 times I'd like to hit her.
60. 101 sore places on my heart when we had to leave ireland.
61. 101 reasons to go back
62. 101 reasons why I can't
63. 101 minutes I lie awake in the night, on average.
64. 101 blogs I wish I could read every day
65. 101 cars Jay Leno has
66. 101 things in the attic I should throw away
67. 101 m&ms on Thirdling's birthday cake
68. 101 people on this earth, born at the same instant I was
69. 101 pairs of shoes in this house, for five pairs of feet. pffff...
70. 101 grams in a bar of Bärnerschoggi
71. 101 windows inside my head
72. 101 books on writing I own
73. 101 post-its, stuck to my desk
74. 101 desires
75. 101 more seconds until I need to pee
76. 101 homework assignments the kids do in a month
77. 101 times I kiss manwithbeard on the cheek in a month
78. 101 seconds to think up each entry. this is getting harder
79. 101 ladies in waiting for the queen
80. 101 grains of rice in my bowl
81. 101 doubts as to whether or not I can come up with another twenty of these.
82. 101 books I should read but haven't
83. 101 things more interesting than how a computer works. (ok, 1,000,001)
84. 101 different spoons. I like spoons.
85. 101 ml of ink wasted on this
86. 101 tiles on the bathroom floor
87. 101 responses pending on Duotrope for one of the magazines to which I subbed. One of them is mine.
88. 101 reasons why cats are better than people.
89. 101 reasons why people are better than cats.
90. 101 reasons why I should go to sleep right now.
91. 101 places I'd rather be than here, all of them warm.
92. 101 bones
93. 101 bad plot ideas
94. 101 favourite songs
95. 101 colors in my paint box
96. 101 days till summer
97. 101 marbles in Thirdling's Mürmelibahn
99. 101 things out of place in my office
100. 101 trips to the community building over the years to take kids to playgroup
101. 101 smiles, because I'm done.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rainbow Cupcakes!

I'm so bummed that we had exactly the right number of these cupcakes, so I couldn't cut one open. 25 went with thirdling to school (happy birthday thirdling!) and there are five left for her actual birthday on Saturday- seemed a bit much to make another cake for Saturday, and then *another* one for her party on Sunday, so we will have these cupcakes. I will cut one open then and see if it looks as cool as I think it's going to.
In writing news, there isn't any. :( back to the writing board.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The "no news but I'm still alive" post

Hello Bloglodytes.

Wallowing in my Rejecto-rama, here, so I'm a bit grumpy. Thanks to the very efficient motivation provided by a certain furry beast, I'm still writing and subbing. Just feeling a bit blue. For now, I will attempt to post a couple of pictures taken with my new camera/phone. I'm a bit worried that the squirrels got at the crocuses I planted last fall, because this was the only one I could find!

So. I'm off to prepare 8 zillion shrinkey dinks for Thirdling's birthday. when she gets home, we will make rainbow cupcakes to take to school.

For all the other mediocre news, I'm happy to say that McKoala approved my efforts for February. Yay! Unfortunately, I am too dim-witted to figure out how to display the lovely icons that JJ designed, so you will have to wait for those. I'm very proud, though.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Author Withdrawal

I always thought that was an interesting expression. It conjures up images of authors cowering in corners, trying to resist the lure of the blank page and the siren call of Open Office. Do they drink ink, in desperation? Of course, that's not what it means. But I've just been thinking about this latest rejection I got. After 180 days, the publication said they would have to pass, sorry for holding it so long, they were sure I'd find a home for it and think of them next time I have something to sub. Hey, I can live with that.(It beats my all time favourite rejection (and this from a critique group- I thought we were supposed to be supporting each other!) which went "We felt that there were issues with your submitted story that would require more resources then we currently have at our disposal.")
But it has started me thinking. It took a respectable journal six months to read and reject (mind you, I wonder how much longer it would have taken if I hadn't queried?) a one thousand word story. I was just looking at their "Author Withdrawal" rate on Duotrope. It's usually around 20%. It would be the top 20% that's being withdrawn- the stories that have been snatched up by some other, more expedient publisher because they're good, right? (ok, there may be an occaisional author who suddenly sees a glaring boo-boo that can be improved, but I can't believe that accounts for much)
I've seen some other publications that have even worse response times and even higher withdrawal rates (check Duotrope's list of unresponsive sloths) This isn't a complaint- the journal I had subbed to allowed sim subs and replied promptly and courteously to my query, but I couldn't help thinking, aren't these people shooting themselves in the foot?

On a completely different note, I was reading this post over at Making Light (which would have been much more interesting if I'd seen the film I think,) but had to post this link. I especially love the woman's question, "Would it be considered adultry if I gave the remote control to someone other than my husband?"
Now, my mind's tipping straight into the gutter (really, I advise you all to leave. Now) and I'm imagining a lover's spat with these implanted (move over boring Dune-type heart plugs!) in some sci-fi adventure:

Babs: Daniel, put your damn socks in the clothing refresher!
Daniel: Babs, you're such a nag. How can you bitch about my dirty socks laying around when you leave everything else laying around?
Babs: I do not!
Daniel: (grinning evily) Do to.
Babs: What? What? (checking end-tables and so-on) I don't see anything laying around here that's mine! (crosses arms, looks smug)
Daniel: (even smugger, jams hands into pockets.) Babs, pick my socks up for me.
Babs: Not on your- (a very intensely confused look crosses her face suddenly) Daniel! Daniel stop it!
Daniel: Socks, Babs.
Babs: (with obvious effort) Yeah? You wanna play like that? When was the last time you saw your remote? (runs offstage)
Daniel: Babs? Where are you going?
(a whooshing noise is heard off-stage)
Daniel: (running after Babs) Not the Sani-port!
Babs: (offstage) One more step and it's next!
(Daniel freezes)
Babs: (cautiously creeping into sight) Should I set it on 'Off,' or 'maximum?' Do you have a preference before I jetison?
(Danel grumbles)
Babs: What's that? You'd like to pick up your own socks? Excellent. And yes, I'd love a cup of tea.

What? I can't believe y'all are still reading this tripe! Don't you have any books to write? I'm ashamed of you!
Could someone give me a hand out of this gutter before you go?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Ok. Well, I managed to stay off Koala's smack-down list last month, but this month I have kids home for two weeks holidays (what kind of sadistic country gives you two weeks of holiday in February?) and someone sub-let my head to a family of phlegm when I wasn't minding it. They keep me up all night yelling "snotters' rights! snotters' rights!" I want to write but I can't seem to concentrate, so I've read a lot of blogs this week and also some books. I've had loads of inspirations and it's sooooooo frustrating not to have the energy to follow through.
Duotrope is also killing me. This is of course, purely my own fault. I love Duotrope and owe to it every dab of organisation my submissions have ever seen. But it's just too tempting to check and re-check all the stats- has anyone responded to any submissions since I last checked? Have they responded to submissions more recent than mine? Does that mean they like mine? Or that they are passing it around for a laugh? Where's Lucy van Pelt when I need her? I'm doing my head in. (Hey, maybe I should torture myself some more! It might annoy the Phlegm Family.

I'm tempted to write a poem about this, but I can't think of anything that rhymes with 'boogers'.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Scrivener, Anyone?

I've hesitated to make this post. It's pointless, boring (well, maybe not so boring) but in any case, it might even violate the rules of Blogsphere because I'm asking, not telling. What am I asking? First, the boring stuff: 1) I am computorially illiterate 2) I don't have a MAC 3) My excellent other half unscrews all my computercide attempts (actually, it's involuntary computerslaughter, really, as I don't do it intentionally) and he doesn't know his way around a MAC. What I want to know is, is Scrivener really that good? Is it worth overcoming all these obstacles? I know it won't write for me, I don't expect it too. But if any one out there remembers this post, you'll know why I'm asking.

So how bout it, Bloglodytes? Who uses Scrivener? Who likes it? Who hates it? Discombobulated minds wanna know...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Blogging in the Rain

Well, we had a lovely covering of snow for a few days- not as common as it's rumoured to be in the flat bits of good old Switzerland- but it's started to rain, and the head has broken off the wonderful snowman (he even has snow buttons, as big as your fist!) and rolled downslope.

Writing is really weird. When it goes well, it seems as natural and inevitable and unstoppable as rain coming down. Of course it's coming down. Of course I'm writing good stuff. Of course. On the days when it doesn't work, it's as if I've been ordered to make it rain back up again. I try. It takes a lot of mental energy. It's like that accio thing. We've all tried that- "accio tea," or "accio donut." But no matter how hard I concentrate, I've never been able to get it to work. It's faster and less trouble to just make the tea myself. (If there's a lesson in that, I'm ignoring it.)

If there were a Dunkin' or a Krispy Kreme within 300km, I'd be on the bestseller list by now, I'm sure.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Today's Excuse

Dear Notebook,

The cat is on me. She has settled herself on my collarbone and to make sure she doesn't slide off, I need to lean back.
It is impossible to write in this position.

This is sad, so sad. I know we all have our good days and our bad days, but things are downright stinky lately. Whether I struggle with the same old stories, trying to make them subripe, or sit down to write something new, nothing jives at the moment.
And my feet are cold. If this keeps up much longer, I'm going to start writing limericks. Hmpf.

A writer once sat quite alone
ignoring the door and the phone
she drank so much tea
she needed to pee
when she came back to the book it was done!

bloody book fairies. they're almost as unreliable as the dish fairies...